RIPLEY - The sadness of Ripley Librarian Nancy McIntosh's retirement was alleviated only by the assurance that Thackeray the cat was willing to stay on to help her successor.
The Friends of Ripley Library held a surprise farewell event recently to honor McIntosh, who has worked at the library for 14 years and served the past six years as librarian.
Thackeray was present at the event, but kept his distance, as he did not wish to comment on her retirement. McIntosh, herself, was "shocked" at the event.
OBSERVER?Photo by David Prenatt
Ripley Free Library director Nancy McIntosh, left, holds a gift basket she received at her farewell event. McIntosh has worked at the library for 14 years and has served as librarian for the past six years.
OBSERVER Photo by David Prenatt
The Friends of Ripley Library gather around retiring librarian Nancy McIntosh (seated) at her farewell gathering.
"I saw cake come out and I thought: 'that's nice,' but I never expected this," she said.
Robyn Albright, who secretly organized the event, said Mcintosh had wanted to retire quietly.
"I said, 'you know me and you think you were going to slip away quietly,'" she said with a laugh.
McIntosh said she is filled with good memories from her time at the library. "It has been the best job. I've met the most wonderful people. I've fully loved everything I've done," she said.
The best memories involve Thackeray, who has been the official library cat for more than 12 years and has his own Facebook page. "He's been so much fun through the years,"McIntosh said.
McIntosh said she has tried to be open to new ideas throughout the years. She has promoted educational programs, speakers, public readings and many entertainment events. Some of the successes she will cherish include the silent auction, the murder-mystery dinners and the organization of the Friends of the Ripley Library
The greatest obstacle has been financial, she said. Several years ago, state funding was cut by 25 percent.
"It has always been difficult financially, finding new ways to bring people and money into the library," she said. "The biggest obstacle has been keeping us afloat, keeping everything going smoothly and brining in new ideas for everyone."
Even though much of the culture has gone to electronic forms of information, Ripley library remains predominantly a place to find real books.
The library does have e-readers though, McIntosh said. "You can't close your eyes to the fact that people want them," she said. "It doesn't really matter if it's a reader or a book, so long as they are reading."
McIntosh said she plans to use her retirement for some travel and for crafts. "I would also like to be able to sit and read for a while," she said.
And what about any advice for Rhonda Thompson, who will taking her place?
"Just be yourself. You can try so many things here. Some are crazy and you try them anyway. Some work out and some don't. But be yourself."