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Cedar Springs librarian to retire

Donna Clark, Library Director for the Cedar Springs Public Library, was Grand Marshal for the Red Flannel Festival in 2016. Courtesy photo.

Will be accepting resumes to replace her

By Judy Reed

One of the most well-loved and well-known people in Cedar Springs will soon be retiring from a job she’s held for 20 years.

Donna Clark, Library Director at the Cedar Springs Public Library, announced that she will retire at the end of this year. “I’m not leaving town, I’m just retiring,” she added with a chuckle.

Donna’s face is one that you will have seen at most events and meetings of all kinds over the years, as well as in the pages of the Post. She’s had her fingers in a lot of pies—library events, city and township meetings, Rotary, CS Women’s Club, Red Flannel Festival, school events, and more—all to help with public relations for the library. And she’s done a wonderful job with that. 

“The priority for me for the last 20 years was whomever walked in that library door,” she remarked. 

 But now, she says, it’s time to step down.

“I want to be able to see more of my family,” she explained. 

Donna came to Cedar Springs from Oklahoma in 1971, when she was 18 years old, to attend the Wesleyan Bible Institute (later Jordan College). She met her husband, Dan, and they were married a year later in 1972. After graduation, the two taught at the college for a time, then lived for a time in Oklahoma. They eventually went to Israel to live on an archaeological site in the desert for three months. The three months became 12 years and eight months, with Donna helping to teach English to Hebrew children.

When she and Dan came back to Cedar Springs in 2000, Dan took a job at Creative Technologies Academy, and by February, Donna had a job at the library. 

“I didn’t know anything about how to run the library,” said Donna. “The board wanted me to apply, so I did. The thing that helped me was I was fresh off the boat, blind, and enthusiastic.” The staff said they knew how to run the library but wanted her to do the public relations side of it. So she did. Her enthusiasm and drive has helped the library to become more visible over the years, and helped keep the fundraising for a new library in the public eye. In 2016, the city finally broke ground on a new state-of-the-art library that was just under five times the size of the old one, and mostly paid for. It was community donations and work-in-kind that made it possible.

She loves the setting of the new library and the sculptures and amphitheater in the Heart of Cedar Springs Park that surrounds the library. “People just gave,” she said, awed and grateful for the generosity of residents and businesses.

She talked about how people help the library with different things and how the people there back each other up. “We surround ourselves with people who have gifts for doing different things. We are a library family. We were able to stay open during Covid when everyone else shut down,” she said.

Donna said one of the blessings has been the “Giving Tree” at the library. “People have donated over $4,000 for us to buy books,” she explained.

“The whole town has really come around the library. It’s what I love about this job.”

Donna has slowly been giving over parts of her job to other staff and said they will be looking for someone to replace her by the end of the year. They will have an application process up on their website soon. In the meantime, if you’d like to apply, you can drop off a resume, email one to ced@llcoop.org, or mail one to the Cedar Springs Public Library, PO Box 280, Cedar Springs, Michigan, 49319. A Bachelor’s degree is required.

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