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Jean Closz is closing the book after 39 years at the Blount County Public Library

Jean Closz is closing the book after 39 years at the Blount County Public Library | Tennessee Libraries | Scoop.it

Jean served "...29 as Head of the Children’s Library.  During that time, she has gained respect from children’s librarians all across the state for her creative projects! 

 

All friends and acquaintances are invited to a reception in Jean’s honor on Tuesday, July 29, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Blount County Public Library."

Tennessee Library Association's insight:

MARYVILLE, TN  (July 15, 2014)    After 39 years of reading stories to children and working in a room full of children’s storybooks, Jean Closz is closing a chapter of her life as she retires. 

            The public—children, former children and parents of children—is invited  to a retirement reception in Closz’s honor at the Blount County Public Library, in the Children’s Library, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 29.

With 39 years of service, Closz has spent 29 as Head of the Children’s Library, so she has influenced the lives of many of Blount County’s young citizens.

Through all of those years, she has been a part of a lot of different initiatives for children.  She says that small groups, like Head Start and day cares, used to come to the library and bring all their children for story hours.  Then, at the McGhee Street library, regular public story hours started so that parents or grandparents could bring their children to the library for story time.  

Around 1990, the state started sponsoring summer reading programs with themes and materials and ideas for activities and crafts.  Prior to that time, from sometime in the 1980s, library staff had to come up with themes and ideas for summer reading programs.

                In 2002, the Children’s area expanded immensely when the new library was completed and moved into the spacious, beautiful room designed with stylistic elements of nature—clouds, sunshine, mountains, caves, trees and more. 

            In 2005, the Maryville Kiwanis partnered with the Imagination Library Foundation to bring the Imagination Library books to children, birth to 5 years old, so that they receive their own library of books, one each month, in the mail. The Kick-off for Imagination Library was held at the library, hosted by the Kiwanis, and Jean Closz created a wearable cardboard “little engine that could” which was worn that day by staff member, Ric Vogt.  The library continues to have a staff member in charge of the registrations for children in Blount County.

            During her time in library employ, Jean Closz has worked at three different library buildings in Maryville.  She started her library careers at the A. K. Harper Memorial Library, now Dandy Lions gift shop, on Church Street, working part-time, when Mrs. Evelyn McDaniel was Library Director.

            Closz has vivid memories of the process—and hard work—of moving from one building to the next new building.  Closz says, “As the move occurred to each different library, the configuration changed for where things were and how they were shelved or stored.” 

Closz says she started working at the A.K. Harper Library in processing with Mrs. Evelyn Merriman, in one little tiny room with a closet, and her chair was in front of the closet.  All processing of materials was done on a table with a chair on each side.  All library cards were typed by typewriter, first manual and then various stages of electric.  After the card catalog using paper index cards was no longer used, there have been multiple electronic catalog systems.  Now, there is such a large volume of materials that it’s no longer possible for one person to type cards.  All look-up for check out was done by hand but is now automated.

As Head of the Children’s Library, Closz has seen a lot of changes over the years.  At the A. K. Harper Library, the Children’s section was in the basement, and that area was pretty dark at times.   Ruth Jobe and Ebba Jones were in charge of the Children’s area until 1985 when Closz took over as Head of the Children’s Library and continues in that position.

            A member of the Tennessee Library Association, Closz has served as chair of the children’s roundtable and has presented at many TLA conferences and workshops for children’s and young adult librarians.

Now that she’s ready to close the last page of the story of her library career, Closz looks forward to creating more stories with her family. She has been married to Charlie Closz for 38 years.  Her family also includes two sons and their families:  Patrick and wife, Rachel, grandchildren, Ethan, 11, and Nathan, 1, who live in Maryville;  Aaron and fiancee, Carolyn Bomar, who live in Memphis.

            The reception is open to the public, so please drop by the reception or any time before then to wish Jean well as she once more turns the pages of her own life story.

            Free and open to the public, the program is sponsored by the Blount County Public Library, located at 508 N. Cusick Street, Maryville.

           For further information about library programs or services, call the library at 982-0981 or visit the Web site at www.blountlibrary.org . To sign up to receive a monthly calendar by email, go to the library’s Home Page, click on the “News and Events” tab, and then “Calendar of Events Signup” and type in your email address. Also check out Facebook at “Blount County Public Library” and Twitter at “Blount_Library”.

 

—END—

 

Blount County does not discriminate based on race, color or national origin in federal or state sponsored programs, pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d).

 

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