Laura Lee Yates retirement marks end of an era

Photo submitted Laura Lee Yates, left, and Myrna Westerman pose for a photo at the going away party for Yates held July 30 at the Paonia Library. Westerman, a former library manager who retired from the library in 2016, hired Yates 20 years ago.

The last of the Paonia Library staff members who worked at the old Paonia Library on Grand Avenue has retired.

On July 30, friends, co-workers and supporters of Laura Lee Yates gathered at the library to celebrate her retirement.

Former library manager Myrna Westerman, who retired in 2016, hired Yates, trusting that she was qualified despite her complete lack of library experience. Westerman spoke about her wonderful energy and enthusiasm that showed immediately and shined brightly for the next two decades.

A former Fish Trap Fellow, Yates is the author of "Bound for the Western Sea," a historical novel on the Lewis and Clark Expedition as told from the perspective of Seaman, the Newfoundland dog of Meriwether Lewis. During her time at the library she greeted everyone with a warm smile.

Yates also helped to successfully run the district library community program Delta County Reads!; the Paonia June/July summer music program; the Harvest of Voices, a literary and live theatre reading collaboration of the Blue Sage, Paonia Library and the Paradise Theatre; the Paonia Library Holiday Event puppet show; and the continuing Armchair Travel series of travelogues by local world travelers who share their personal experiences and photos.

Her many other adult programs most recently included travel, geology of the North Fork Valley and memoir writing.

Delta Libraries district manager Lea Hart presented Yates with a gift certificate to her favorite health food store, Indigo Autumn, and Judy Livingston, president of the Friends of the Paonia Library presented her with a Visa gift card, which Yates says will go toward a tent or gazebo so she can sit in her front yard and enjoy nature.

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