The first person to greet you when you walk into a library can directly impact your experience. Being welcomed with a warm, friendly smile, a display of genuine interest in your needs, and the patience to assist you no matter what the circumstance can be empowering.
If this experience happens often enough, you begin to feel like you belong at the library: like it is yours, like you are home.
Terry Johns had this very special way of inviting people into the library every single day that she came to work for 29 years.
“Terry is not just our family's favorite librarian, she has become a dear friend and neighbor,” says Shannon Ullmann, Hotchkiss Library patron. “She has such a warm personality. It is no wonder storytime toddlers, preschoolers and kindergartners feel safe to learn and explore with her. She has a deeply caring heart for all ages. Hotchkiss Library became our favorite haven because of Terry.”
Library staff members also value John’s friendly, supportive demeanor and consider themselves privileged to have worked with her. Sarah Smith is one of those people.
“I have had the great pleasure of working with Terry Johns for eight years,” says Smith. “Terry has been a coworker, friend, mentor, community leader, and role model. She has supported early literacy, children's development, and many community programs over the years. She will be dearly missed by children, parents, teachers, librarians, and community members of all ages.”
Johns’ career with the libraries began after she responded to an ad for a position at Hotchkiss Library 29 years ago. While most of her tenure has been working in Hotchkiss, Johns served as library manager for both Cedaredge and Hotchkiss libraries in recent years.
It has been a rewarding career for her. “I feel rural libraries are vital to our communities. When my mom would visit from the city, she would always comment that the library seemed like the ‘hub’ of the community. This is so true! Patrons of all ages depend on the resources libraries provide, they enjoy coming to programs or just checking out a book, and taking time to visit while they’re there.”
Johns’ fondest memories are of working with children, providing weekly storytimes, offering summer reading programs, doing outreach to the schools, and even performing puppet shows. “Seeing the looks on children’s faces when stories are shared, singing songs, playing games, or making crafts, will always be memorable to me.”
Retiring in the midst of a pandemic is certainly not what Johns’ expected, but she is looking forward to spending more time with family, camping, church ministries, and, of course, reading. “The difficult thing about retiring now is not having a chance to say good-bye to library patrons and maybe sharing a hug!”
In lieu of a retirement party, the community is invited to share a “hug” with Terry in the form of a greeting card. Share your memories, well wishes, and gratitude by sending cards to Terry Johns, c/o Hotchkiss Library, PO Box 540, Hotchkiss, CO, 81419.
For more information about Delta County Libraries visit www.deltalibraries.org.