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Bryn retires after 25 years as Rugby librarian

Library is educational pillar of community

July 15, 2011
By Terri Kelly Barta

Many changes have occurred since Amy Bryn took the helm at the Heart of America Library. Bryn steps down from the director position on July 30 after 25 years of service.

She began her career after her third son was enrolled in school. Before then she was a full time stay-at-home mother.

Bryn worked with Head Start for four years before she saw an opening at the library and was hired part time in 1986. She started as a card cataloger. She went full time in 1988.

That was back when stamping was used to check out books. The date the book would need to be returned was stamped on a card in a pocket in the back of each book. People used library cards much like the debit cards used by bank customers today, however, they were only used to check library materials out.

Today, the library patron is issued a number, the names are listed in the system on computer.

"When patrons call to renew their materials, we can look them up on the computer," said Bryn. "It doesn't take long at all."

In 1989, Alyce Rasmusson retired as library director and Bryn was hired to fill the position of director.

She had received her education from Towner High School and took some courses on children's literature, but mostly Bryn learned about library work through the State Library workshops that were presented after she took the job. At present, library directors are usually required to have a masters degree in library science.

When Bryn first acquired the job of director, there were three employees; the director, assistant director, and cataloger. Later, they added a library aide to shelve books and perform other tasks. The library board started by hiring high school students for the aide job. At times they have also used the senior programs of Green Thumb and Experience Works to obtain personnel.

Over the years, many changes have occurred, both in the building and how the library operates. One invention that most improved the library is the automation system of the card catalog which was installed in 2005, according to Bryn. Computers and software made operating the library more efficient, as well. Heart of America Library received its first computer in 1987 from the state library. Circulation and financial records were kept on it. In 1997 the library received computers for the public to use through the (Bill) Gates Foundation grants.

Bryn has written many grants over the years, and work has been done on the building. The city library started in one tiny room in city hall. When the county joined with the city to provide a library, a new building was built in 1969 where it is located today. The library was the first building in Rugby to bear the name Heart of America. Along the way, the library has added energy-efficient furnaces, replaced the windows and added 25' to the west end to allow more room for cataloging and an office. The front door was moved to the west end of the building. The addition was completed in 2007.

Another addition is in services, The Rugby library is a member of North Central Library Authority through Minot Public Library Association. Patrons of Pierce County can borrow E-books to read through the Minot Library.

To Bryn, working in the public library is the best job she could have. She has always enjoyed reading. Bryn has strong memories of her mother reading to her until she was reading on her own. She remembers teachers showing her how to take care of books so they would last.

The job wasn't just all hard work either. She remembers one time when the library summer program theme was "Clowning Around". Bryn and the rest of the staff dressed as clowns and had a lot of fun with it. The kids got to throw whip cream pies at the clowns.

Bryn really enjoyed the story hour for preschoolers.

"You meet the three-year-olds," she remembers with a smile. "They are our future."

Then she gets a gleam in her eye as she says "some have graduated and married and I remember them from story hour."

"I have high praise for this job," said Bryn. "It is one of the most rewarding careers there is, helping and serving people."

In her retirement, she plans to slow down and enjoy each day. She likes gardening, birding, and reading. She plans to be part of the reading group at the library. She may even come in and help at the library when needed.

"One of the things I will miss the most is the people you meet," added Bryn.

She and her husband, Ole, reside on the place his grandfather homesteaded. They raised their sons, Mike, Rodney, and Aaron to adulthood. The young men live in North Dakota and Minnesota with their families. The Bryns have nine grandchildren.

 
 

 

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