After 22 years as Joseph librarian, Genene Kingsford recently decided her retirement was long overdue. The city threw a day-long retirement party for Kingsford on Nov. 20 at the back of the Joseph City Hall, where a steady stream of admirers, including numerous children, stopped for cookies and punch and to offer cards and thanks for her service.
Kingsford started at the library in 1993 as a volunteer. She didn’t have a library science degree, so she earned her spot through hard work and devotion to the job.
“I’d been on the library board a couple of times and did fill-in work, then more and more of that, and when (former librarian Becky Cartney) left, I applied for and got the job.”
And why retire now?
“I’m 62, and it’s time,” she said. “My husband’s been retired for over a year. I’m not disappearing, I’ll still see everyone at Safeway.”
Kingsford helped train her replacement, Eric Shoudel.
Of course, Kingsford isn’t completely distancing herself from the library.
“I’ll be keeping in touch, but I won’t be hands-on or anything like that. There’s a lot of other stuff out there to do.”
Kingsford said that serving the public, particularly the children, was her favorite part of being the librarian.
“I enjoyed the reading programs. I started the holiday reading program and others. Just helping the kids and people was the best part.”
Emerging technology proved to be the most challenging part of her career and also provided the biggest changes she oversaw.
“The job has changed so much. The technology has increased, and we provide so many more services than we used to with interlibrary loans, computers and more and more technology stuff.”
Kingsford has no regrets about her choice of a career.
“This has been a great job. I’ve made a lot of friends here over the years. Today, I’ve had so many people and good friends tell me how much they appreciate me, and I feel good about that.”
Kingsford said she thought her work with reading programs for kids would stand as a crucial part of her legacy.
“I know kids who attended all the programs when they were young, and one of them is now on my library board because of that,” she said. “Hopefully, I made a real pleasant place for people to come and feel comfortable and for kids to love. People could come in and know I would always try my best to help them.”