Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

December 20, 2008

Greentown children’s librarian retiring

Barb Loomis started working in 1984

GREENTOWN — Like the students at Eastern Elementary School, Barb Loomis started winter break Friday.

However, when the students return to classes in January, Loomis, the children’s librarian, will not be back, as she has retired after 24 years at the Greentown Public Library.

Loomis said she began working at the library in the high school building in August 1984, after moving to the area with her husband, Jerry, and three sons, who were in fourth, sixth and eighth grades. In August 1987, she began working part-time at the children’s library, housed in Eastern Elementary School, and in January 1987, she became the full-time children’s librarian.

She’s seen changes in those years —more working mothers who aren’t able to bring their children to daytime story hours, and fewer parents reading to their children — and some things that haven’t changed — children still love Curious George, Franklin and Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Library Director Margi Bontrager said Loomis will be missed for her dry sense of humor and her willingness to give her time to library programs.

“She has just been a welcoming figure for all the children of Greentown,” Bontrager said. “She is an employee who has always volunteered her time for whatever projects needed to be done, whether they benefit the children’s library or the adult library.”

Bontrager said Mindy Hobensack, who works in the high school library, will be children’s librarian starting Jan. 1. Even after Loomis’ retirement, Bontrager anticipates seeing Loomis at library events and checking out books.

“Barb will still be around,” Bontrager said. “She’ll still be a loyal patron to the library.”

The children’s librarian’s job is unique — not only is the children’s library a public library, it is also a school library for students in kindergarten through sixth-grade. It also serves pre-school children and home schooled children in addition to those at Eastern Elementary School.

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