By TRAVIS MORSE
MT. VERNON — — Retiring children's librarian Sharon Yearwood said she has enjoyed every aspect of working at Brehm Library, with the possible exception of shelving books.
Yearwood, 64, will step down as director of the library's Children's Department June 2, after more than four years in the position. She has worked at the library for nearly nine years.
During her tenure as director, Yearwood has introduced many new library programs, including Story Time/Little Readers, Books for Treats, Family Reading Night and others. The job, she said, has been a dream come true.
“I love the whole thing, except maybe shelving. I'm not really excited about shelving,” Yearwood said, laughing. “But you know as far as doing the programs, the planning of the programs, that just kind of stirs my juices up. I love doing bulletin boards (and) I just enjoy interacting with children.”
Yearwood said her age motivated her decision to retire.
“I just found myself slowing down and it just took me longer to do things,” Yearwood said. “And it's time for a new, young person to come in with new ideas.”
To recognize Yearwood's service, the library will hold a special retirement reception for her from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. May 30 at the library.
The public is invited to come so they can bid farewell to Yearwood and welcome her replacement, Hannah Story.
Story, who has been a clerk at Brehm for 14 years, has worked side-by-side with Yearwood for the past several months to train for the position.
She said she looks forward to taking over as the new Children's Department director and continuing the many quality programs already in place.
“I think it's exciting,” Story said. “It's going to be fun. … We're going to keep going (with) what we've got and see if we can expand some stuff.”
Prior to joining the library staff, Yearwood taught for 32 years at District 80 Schools. She started out teaching fifth- and sixth-graders, but spent the last 17 years of her career teaching first grade.
She retired from District 80, but her retirement only lasted about nine months.
Before long, Yearwood became “bored” and started working as a clerk at Brehm, on the advice of a friend. The friend was also a retired teacher working part-time at the library.
“I'd always loved the library and I'd always been a patron here, ever since I was a little girl, and so I said, 'yeah, how hard can that be?' Yearwood said.
Yearwood soon discovered, though, the job was much more challenging than she'd anticipated. As a clerk, she worked in the Circulation and Genealogy Departments, performing a number of first floor duties.
But what Yearwood really wanted was to work in the Children's Department on the third floor, and after a time she got the chance to do so, working with long-time children's librarian Jacque Ross.
Later, when Ross retired after 35 years, Yearwood became the Children's Department director.
Yearwood said she's proud of many of the programs she's initiated including Books for Treats, which distributes children's books on Halloween in place of candy.
This year, her department also started an off-site Story Time reading program at local daycares.
After retirement, Yearwood said she will continue to promote the library at Jefferson County schools as a Brehm “ambassador.”
The library, Yearwood said, is a great resource for the community.
“Sometimes when things are free we don't value them as much, but we have a wonderful resource here,” Yearwood said. “We're always encouraging people — it's one of the best values that you can get for your tax dollar.”