Starry Send Off for Former Library Director Karen Taylor – East Greenwich News

Above: Longtime library manager Karen Taylor, who retired in 2020, is cutting her retirement celebration cake.

Submitted by Friends of the EG Library

The front of the library got ready for a party celebrating former library manager Karen Taylor.

Wednesday night at East Greenwich Free Library was a special October night under the stars, with the stars! First there was the annual meeting, with reports reassuring customers that everything was fine and a full reopening was imminent. Second, guests had the opportunity to join us in congratulating Karen Taylor, former director of the library, on her 40 years of dedication and service. Karen’s retirement no doubt makes her days easier – but also opens a new door for Adrienne Girard, who hosted Wednesday’s celebratory rally and spoke about her own hopes and dreams of leading EGFL. Staff, friends, administrators and customers applauded and smiled.

Of course, the Friends of the Library (FLC) Steering Committee attended the event with their own tribute to Karen, which we would like to share with the EG News community. Here is a reprint of our collective feelings, lovingly written by Gloria DePaolo, Director of the Friends of the Library LC program. It was read aloud and presented to Karen on Wednesday evening:

“For Karen, the director of the East Greenwich Library was not just a career, it was a passion. She spent 40 years defending this library – promoting its value to the city, attending countless budget hearings, and harassing local officials for more money than they wanted to give.

In the early 2000s, she persuaded a rather reluctant board of directors that this 90-year-old building was too small, not ready for the 21st century, and just not befitting a city like East Greenwich. She managed a one-year renovation and expansion program. The library probably did not close for more than a week during this time. And a few years ago, Karen got a big grant to make the facade of the building accessible to people with disabilities, in addition to adding a pleasant garden / patio reading area.

In between these accomplishments, she assembled a group of volunteers, asked them to form a Friends of the Library steering committee, and let them do their work. In return, she got a group of volunteers who never stayed home, never stopped pushing, and rarely took no for an answer. The group was a force to be reckoned with. We believed in the mission and wanted to lend a hand. Karen was an enthusiastic supporter of almost everything we came up with. Book sales of course, a jewelry sale, controversial speakers, weekly mindfulness meditation classes, the festive artistic winter New Years galas each December. We hung out in Karen’s office, in the community room and in the loan office, disturbing the staff. Karen never chased us away.

Karen has contributed to every meeting of the Friends of the Library Steering Committee. She attended every Winter’s Eve for nine years, and she even bought and shared some of the original artwork on display. She sorted out bracelets and rings and held a table at our first jewelry sale. She arranged, sorted and transported books for the sale of books. She donned a brimmed hat and beads for a Downton Abbey tea party that filled the community hall.

Karen supported our programs – the beer tasting, a talk on the pros and cons of drone warfare, before and after the 2016 election, an eye opener on how to win recipe contests, a panel discussion chaired by the late Jim Taricani on the history of corruption in our state policy, a day dedicated to Korean cuisine and culture, and much more.

She knew that the success of the Friends of the library was its success and the success of the library. So getting started was the name of the game. Karen was one of us. As a result, in 2019, the Rhode Island Library Association honored the Friends of the Free Library of East Greenwich with a Meritorious Friends of the Library Award for their outstanding contributions to quality library service. It wouldn’t have happened without Karen.

Sometimes dissenting, but never obnoxious – her laughter was recognized throughout the library. Her office allegedly gave Marie Kondo a serious heart attack. Stacks of books waiting to be cataloged, piles of folders and papers, post-its stuck everywhere. . . for anyone who dared to take a look, it was chaos. But it must have made Karen happy. She worked there effortlessly. She knew where everything was, she never lost anything, and it was awesome!

She asked for little, but gave so much to the Friends of the Library Steering Committee, to the Library, to the Community for 40 years – and we are all grateful for her dedication to this place we treasure.

As Karen enjoys her retirement years, the Friends of the Library Board of Directors hopes she considers Mr. Rogers, a sage for all ages, who said, “Often times when you think you are at the end of something, you are at the beginning. something else.

The most recent Friends of the Library board members, Sandra Norris, Allison Perrelli, Paulette Miller, Cele Mark, Celene Healy, Mary Beth Dumouchel, Mary Welch and Gloria DePaola – and we are sure, our founder Carolin Goldman, as well as our past presidents Natalie Higgins and Lisa Sussman – say, “Good start to something else and thank you, good friend, for leaving us fond memories in this gem of a building.”

See you at the Library!

Gloria DiPaola, Friends of the Library member, shares some thoughts on Karen Taylor’s long tenure as head of the EG Free Library.

It was a perfect night to sit outside, in front of the entrance to the library which was just one of Karen Taylor’s heirlooms.

Karen Taylor’s cake.

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