HYDE PARK—The longtime children’s librarian at the Connolly Branch Library, Laura Foner, will be retiring next month.
Foner became a children’s librarian after having her first child and “falling in love with children’s books,” she told the Gazette.
“I was doing a lot of reading with him and I was going to the library, getting introduced to old classics and some newer books that are wonderful,” she said.
She had been working as a union organizer in hospitals and doing women’s theater, and she would periodically think, “What do I really want to do?” she said.
“I was trying to decide on a job I felt like would allow me to use things I was interested in and live the things I believed in,” she said.
So she went back to college and got her library degree in 1994, at the age of 50.
“It turned out to be a really good fit! It’s been amazing. It’s exceeded my expectations,” she said.
After starting at the Connolly in July 1996, Foner said, she was reintroduced to the public library and “what a great institution it is.”
“The thing that really stuck with me, somebody I knew said, ‘This is a great job for a community organizer.’ That turned out to be really true,” Foner said. “It’s a public, community space that provides common shared resources. You meet all kinds of people and make these resources available [to them].”
“We celebrate her not with a heavy heart but with lots of joy for the new phase she will be starting after retirement. I know her days as the Connolly’s Children Librarian are coming to an end soon, but I’m certain that her life as an involved and concerned JP citizen will flourish even more,” Sylvia Velez, a member of the Friends of the Connolly organization, told the Gazette.
Foner told the Gazette that she wants to retire while she is still healthy, to devote time to other pursuits and to “have more time for myself,” she said.
“It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work with her,” Connolly Branch Librarian Jane Bickford told the Gazette. “We’ll miss her, but I’m thrilled for her.”
“Laura has been amazing embracing the community of kids she has been watching grow,” Velez said. “To so many of us she is not only our children’s librarian but a mentor and a role model. Her contributions to our community and to our children are invaluable.”
The Connolly Library, located at 433 Centre St., is hosting a retirement party, planned by the Friends of the Connolly, on June 9.