Debbie Lind

Debbie Lind sits at her desk with a stack of returned books at the Wallowa Public Library enjoying the last few days until she retires June 30.

WALLOWA — After 13 years as the Wallowa Public Library director, Debbie Lind is moving on.

Lind, who’s final day at the library will be Tuesday, June 30, said she will miss the library patrons and helping the community, but plans to stay in Wallowa and volunteer at the library occasionally.

“I feel like my heart and soul are here,” she said.

Marcie Sheehy, chairwoman of the Wallowa Public Library Board, said Lind has transformed the library into a “hub” for the community, warmly welcoming anyone who enters.

“She always has the time to listen to each patron whether it is a library need or just a listener,” she said. “Her bright outlook and cheerful smile make the library a comfortable place.”

With social distancing practices being implemented, Lind has organized “Grab’n’Go” services for items on the Sage Catalog or Inter Library Loan.

“Patrons can inform us of your request by email or phone and we will get them ready to pick up between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.,” she said.

Library services are not the only thing that Lind provides, Sheehy said.

“Information services, directions, computer use, educational activities, two-minute library tours, lost animal information, travelers needing a break at the library,” she said. “You never know what will walk through your library door.”

Many accomplishments Lind initiated included events like The Reptile Guy, receiving a $3,000 grant for youth books, summer reading programs and story hours for children.

Janet Goebel, chairwoman of the library board when Lind was hired in 2007, said regardless of having no library experience, Lind learned everything from the ground up and served the Wallowa community well, especially the children.

“Debbie has always worked hard to get children reading and into the library,” Goebel said.

“Friends of the Library” is a program that allows people to donate a minimum of $10 a year and people who donate $100 or more are honored by a plaque with their name hanging on the library wall.

“The ‘Friends of the Library’ is really what is keeping the upkeep of the library and making it vibrant,” Lind said.

Even as Lind is retiring, the library has plans for change and growth as she trains her replacement.

“We are going to have a mural painted on the wall and it’s going to be beautiful, and Anna Vogel is designing it,” Lind said. “It is going to represent the library well.”

Goebel said Lind has put a great face on the library, always friendly and welcoming.

“Our library is going to miss Debbie and we wish her lots of fun in her retirement,” she said.

Lind said there are many things she will miss, especially providing services to the community.

“I think it’s just being a part of the community and doing what I can to help or give them a destination,” she said.

Sheehy said she cannot wait to see what Lind does next with her photography work and that we have not seen the last of her.

“The public will get to now enjoy the wonderful artistic talents of Debbie, including her newest idea of fractal art, which she displays in large format cards, flyers and brochures,” Sheehy said.

An award-winning photographer, she received an honorable mention for her fractal artwork and the Pollok International Award, where her photos hung in the FotoNostrum in Barcelona, Spain. Lind said this meant a great deal to her and she wishes to spend more time advancing her photography business.

To celebrate 40 years of marriage with her husband, Lind said she hopes to take a family trip to Hawaii, if the pandemic allows.

With no set plans, Lind is hoping to see where this new journey takes her as she enjoys being a grandmother and spending with her family. She still believes the library is and always will be a wonderful place for people of all ages.

“I hope (Wallowa Public Library) is always part of the village — people want a destination and a safe place,” she said.

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