TROY — After 29 years of sorting and alphabetizing, Sandy Mitchell is finally checking out.
The Troy-Miami County Library circulation associate shelved her last book on March 29, opening a new chapter to retirement.
Sandy started at the library as a volunteer as her children were transitioning from home to school and has been checking out books and helping customers over the last three decades.
“I started as a volunteer first and they had me straightening shelves and putting everything back in order,” Mitchell said.
After a year of volunteering, she was hired on staff.
She said her favorite part of the job has always been the interaction with patrons. Sandy said the city’s librarians aren’t always busy lending out books, they also a lend an ear.
“You are not always giving out information, you are listening,” she said. “We have a lot of people come in and really want to talk or need to talk. It’s interesting some of the people you meet.”
Sandy recalled some of the more colorful conversations she’s fielded over the years.
“It’s like a cross-section of the population that comes in here,” as she laughed. “It’s been a trip.”
Sandy recalled the early days of her career at the library before computerization.
“I can remember just how much it has changed over time,” she said. “One time I was back in the stacks and a lady came in and she wanted a book on how to start a small business. I went and helped her find it and she said, ‘Wow! This is like the original Google, isn’t it?’ And I thought ‘OK, did you ever go to the library as a kid?’”
When Sandy started her career at the library, the checkout desk was in the center of the library.There were physical card catalogues dotted around the various sections. The library cards were made of card stock and the metal ID was stamped with ink.
“I remember how the kids would come get their books stamped and they’d give themselves a stamp or tattoo or whatever, so now we have to give them stamps,” she said.
With computerization streamlining the process, the mission always was the same: getting good books into the hands of the patrons.
Yet, this librarian will still chose to read a good book the old-fashioned way.
“No, I will not read on a tablet. I absolutely refuse to read on a tablet. I got to have that book in my hand,” said Sandy with a laugh.
Sandy resides on her family farm outside of New Carlisle with her husband Mark, a retired school teacher.
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