Jan Ryan began her career with Delta County Libraries in December of 2000 when Crawford Community Library was located upstairs at Crawford Town Hall. "It was cramped, lacked climate control, and the bathrooms downstairs were 'scary,' according to many patrons," Ryan smiles.
Ryan and Kathy Little have worked together in Crawford since then. Little, currently the Crawford Library manager, has mixed feelings about Ryan's retirement. "After working together for 18 years, we have become more like sisters than co-workers," Little explains. "We are a team and I will miss having her around every day. I wish her the very best in retirement."
Ryan and Little have seen many changes in Crawford since 2000. When Ryan was hired, Crawford Community Library was in the process of trying to raise funds to build a new library.
"I served on the Crawford Library Service Foundation," Ryan commented. "We finally saw our goal accomplished when the new library opened in July 2008."
Since then, Ryan and Little have spent their days working in a beautiful environment, with plenty of space, proper heating and cooling, and welcoming restrooms. However, a new building is not the only change they have seen over the years.
"What has changed the most, besides the lovely new building, is our dependence on computers and electronic devices for every aspect of what we do. There has been a lot to learn over the years. Computers and what they can do has evolved so rapidly that, for someone who wasn't raised with them, it is quite challenging to keep up."
Despite that challenge, Ryan has found great value in being a part of the Crawford community and connecting with library patrons. Looking back, she has a lot to reflect on.
"The most memorable moments would be the times I spent with kids. I did storytime for many years, as well as summer reading program. It was delightful to see children turned on to reading and gratifying to listen as they gradually learned to read themselves."
In recent years, Ryan has served as interlibrary loan coordinator for the library district from her office at Crawford Library. She processes thousands of patron requests each year for books and other materials from libraries outside of Delta County.
"How rewarding it has been to get those items that otherwise would not be available to our patrons," Ryan reflects.
Collections and systems administrator Leah Morris adds to this, saying, "Jan's commitment to the whole library district is made clear when you look at the numbers of books that have passed through her hands for readers at all of our libraries. Her interlibrary loan role is unique and she has met the challenge wonderfully."
In retirement, Ryan is looking forward to staying home on snowy days, hiking, taking time to relax, reading, taking walks with her dogs, painting, scrapbooking, beading, kayaking, traveling, and maybe even being a substitute librarian in Crawford.
Little will be happy to hear that her co-worker and friend of 18 years will not be going far from home. Ryan even plans to get involved with the Friends of Crawford Library. "I want to help with the good work they do," she says.
Ryan begins her new journey in the new year and library staff members, board members, and friends wish her well and thank her for her many years of service.
To learn more about Delta County Libraries visit them on Facebook or at www.deltalibraries.org.