After more than three decades of service, Stanislaus County Librarian Susan Guest is ready to check out her last book. Dozens of parents and children were present at the Turlock Branch of the Stanislaus County Library Tuesday morning to see Guest work her magic during story time, one last time, as she turned each page and looked at every child as if they were the only one in the room.
“I love to read children’s literature. I am overjoyed with emotion when I see them get excited as I read to them,” said Guest.
Guest will be retiring at the end of the month after working for the Stanislaus County Library for 10 years, and the Alameda County Library for 20 years.
Guest’s story time is not only a magical moment for the kids; parents join in on the fun as well. Story time has been so popular throughout the years that library services tripled the number of story times offered to accommodate public demand.
“Summer is the busiest time of the year for us. We’ve had close to 100 parents and children for story time at one time. That is why we offer story time Wednesday and Thursday mornings at 10 and 11,” she said.
Guest has also seen the library evolve since she started working.
“When I first came we had the card catalog; it is nice to see how the library has evolved since I started working. The computer has made it more organized and convenient for kids and adults who are trying to check out a book. They can check online to see what books the Turlock store has available and they come to the library to pick them up within a couple of days,” she said.
Despite the advances in technology and the wealth of knowledge now available online any time of day or night, Guest believes more people come to the library than when she started working 30 years ago.
“I believe that the reason why so many people are coming to the library is because of the decline of our economy. A log of students come and type up their papers and others work on their resume. Since the library is free to the public, I feel like it’s an incentive for them,” she said. “Also, books are being talked about and publicized more since ‘Harry Potter’ and the other trilogy books came about. We get a lot of people looking for those books here at the library.”
Guest’s duties as a librarian did not end with reading story time to toddlers; she helped other staff members at the front desk and served as a tour guide when schools came to visit. She also traveled to area schools and read stories to the younger classrooms.
“I don’t have a typical day when I come to work. I usually go inside the children’s section and make sure the room is set up for when I have to do story time. I practice the stories and make sure I have all the materials I need. It usually consists of puppets, music, and visual aids. I also help at the front desk and order fliers when needed,” she said.
The children aren’t the only ones Guest will miss when she retires.
“The staff at the Turlock Library has become a second family to me. We work in a loving and cohesive environment every single day,” she said.
Guest will not miss the staff for too long. She plans to come back to the library and serve as a volunteer in the children’s section.
“I love my job. I never wanted to do anything else. The look on the children’s faces is priceless and it makes me happy to know that I contributed to their smile.”