Friday, November 18, 2011

Congratulations to Liz Dannenbaum on Her 24 Years at the Middleton Public Library: A Reminiscence and Tribute

I'll allow current Middleton Public Library Director Pamela Westby to "speak" first. (And thanks, Pamela, for allowing me to share this well-deserved tribute to Liz .)

Now I'd like to add a few remarks of my own, accompanied, for the most part, by screenshots from the Middleton Public Library website.

The library staff just before Liz was hired.
  (Not pictured: 3 library pages.)
Front:  Vic Tortorici, Christine Popenhagen
Back:  Sheila Johnson, Paul Nelson, Marion Daniel, Barb Otis, Sharon Grover, Vranna Manor

I had the pleasure of working with Liz for 21 of her 24 years at the Middleton Public Library. She started as Reference Librarian in a part-time capacity -- was it 30 hours per week? -- when the library shared 5,500 square feet of space in City Hall.

The reference section wasn't much to write home about.  An L-shaped range of shelving.  Were two small carrels all we had for seating?  Two sections of vertical files (not pictured).  By the time I was started as Director in 1986, the service desk (lower right) had been converted into counterspace for a Geac terminal.  (Staff use only.)

The replacement reference desk was your standard-issue office furniture.  (This photo is just an approximation.  Tune out the background and imagine a small ready-reference collection where the lamp and fan are located.)

Within three years, though, Liz found herself working in a much larger, standalone facility, supervising a reference desk that couldn't be missed the moment you stepped into the lobby.  [This photo is from my own collection.]

An expansion project in late 2003/early 2004 resulted in a move to a larger space in a previously unfinished section of the lower level -- we never referred to it as "the basement" -- complete with computer lab.

Liz was indeed a key player in moving the Middleton Public Library forward in the area of Adult Services.

Here are a sampling of her accomplishments..

Summer reading.  From the May-June 2002 issue of The Bookworm, the library newsletter.

Exhibits and programs.

Book discussions (where she offered me her encouragement and insights in serving as an occasional discussion leader)

Special feature newsletter articles. (Liz, in fact, was responsible for initiating a bimonthly library newsletter in 2001 and has continued to serve as its editor.)

Promoting volunteerism.

Sharing her knowledge.

Liz's contributions certainly helped the Middleton Public Library to thrive.

Best wishes on your upcoming retirement, Liz.   You're a valued colleague and a dear friend.


Susan said...

Liz is (was?) devoted to the library. Her work there over all these years represents a kind of commitment we rarely see any more, and an abiding intelligence and understanding of how to add knowledge and joy to our big and little lives here.

Dr. Julie Kaufman said...

Congratulations to Liz Dannenbaum! What a wonderful resource she has been setting up fabulous speakers and assisting the public with her VAST knowledge and experience. Thank you Liz for all your dedication and public service for 24 years. What next?
Dr. Julie Kaufman