By Jackie Nelson
After 70-plus years of total service, Librarians Ellen Voth and Karen White are checking out.
The ladies each found their calling at Hesston Public Library through their love of books and the community.
“I have always loved to read. Being surrounded by books makes me feel good. So I was excited to become an employee of the Hesston Public Library 36-plus years ago,” said Voth.
White joined the library shortly after Voth.
“I grew up in the Hesston community and remember as a child going to the library on Saturday afternoons and searching the several shelves of books for something I hadn’t already read,” said White, who began her career in March of 1978.
Library Board member Erik Lange said the Hesston community found two uniquely dedicated individuals as Librarians.
“Hesston has been lucky to have Karen and Ellen do such a fine job for such a long period of time. It is very rare in this day and age for anyone to show such dedication and commitment to one job for such a long period of time. Their experience at the library and their knowledge of the community will be missed,” he said.
Over the decades, Voth and White have been steadfast figures in a library swirling with change, both in personnel, the library’s collections and the way the public utilizes the library.
“Teresa Burkey, who was the director at that time, hired me. In addition to her, I have had the privilege of working with four other directors – Marianne Eichelberger, Chris Buller, Cari Cusick and now Libby Albers. All the directors brought their own personalities, new way of looking at things and visions for the future of Hesston Public Library with them and helped shape the library into what it is today,” said White.
“There have been many changes during those years. Several expansions and renovations in the building on Smith Street. Before we had our collection on computers, patrons signed cards for items checked out, which we then counted and alphabetized at the close of each day,” said Voth.
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