Sand Lake librarian to retire
By Tom Noreen
For 31 years, Sand Lake/Nelson Township Library Branch Manager Glenda Middleton has served the residents of Nelson Township and the Village of Sand Lake. Her smiling face has greeted and welcomed patrons and helped them find the right item or information they needed. That will come to an end when she retires later this month but those times will not be forgotten.
“It’s really about relationships that are created, which last forever,” said Glenda. Like the television show, Cheers, our library is a place to go where everyone knows your name. Glenda has rejoiced with the happy and mourned with the sad. Although the library is a place of work, the library is community to Glenda.
Prior to becoming a librarian, Glenda worked as a substitute teacher plus was a mom to five children. She said, “At that time I was asking, what does the Lord want me to do when I grow up?” Her prayer was answered when she responded to an ad for a librarian at the library in Sand Lake. Her sixth child was born a year and a half after she began her job.
When she started working, the library was in what is now the meeting room of the Village/Township Hall. She worked 15 hours a week and for the first six or seven years, worked alone. Later the library moved into the larger room on the south side of the building. There it stayed until the new library opened in 2007.
According to Middleton, being a librarian has been a good fit and rewarding. Getting people excited about books, starting discussion groups, and bringing in authors through the Michigan Notable Books program have made the job a joy.
Glenda related that her biggest challenge was the size of the old library. This limited not only the number of items on the shelf but also the programs the library could host. This shortfall was addressed early in the 90s when the Friends of the Library began raising funds for the construction of a new library. After many years, this came to fruition with the grand opening of the new library at 88 8th Street in June, 2007.
Middleton has been active in the Michigan Rural Library Conference by being a member of the planning committee for fifteen years. She has also been a member of the Sand Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. She chairs the pancake breakfast during the July 4th activities. The Chamber partners with the library for “Christmas with Santa” in December. Glenda works with the Friends of the Library and interested donors with the Adopt a Family for Christmas.
She said, “I have appreciated the support of the Township, Village and the Friends of the Library and enjoyed working with everyone. I have always enjoyed working with the community.”
As to the future, Glenda said, “I am going to take six months to find out who I am.” She does plan to spend more time with her husband, Francis, six children and grandchildren. Her three daughters live out of state and her three sons live in the area. She plans to keep reading, especially the 30 years of Life magazines she has collected. Hopefully church and mission projects are on her to do list.
Glenda will be sorely missed by the community, not only for her professionalism, but also for the care she has taken with each patron. As Linda Oosterhouse noted when I was talking with Glenda, “Glenda is the best librarian ever!”
Glenda concluded our interview with, “Old librarians never retire, they just get checked out.”
There will be a retirement open house for Glenda on Saturday, June 28, from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Sand Lake/Nelson Township Library, 88 8th Street, Sand Lake. RSVP at 616-250-1473.