HELENA — The Lincoln Branch of Lewis and Clark Library is about to experience a major change.After 36 years, longtime librarian Sherri Wood will be retiring on June 28.
Wood said she’s so grateful to have had the opportunity to do what she loves for her work.
“My whole life has just been consumed with reading, and my mother was a storyteller in Helena at the old library,” said Wood.
As a young girl, Wood would often spend time at the Lewis and Clark Library, which was located in the Grandstreet Theatre at the time.
“Downstairs was the children’s part, and we weren’t allowed to go upstairs until we were older. I always thought libraries were fascinating” recalled Wood.
Her love of books would lead Wood to apply for a job at the Lincoln Library in 1983, right as it was becoming a part of the Lewis and Clark Library.
When she first started in Lincoln, the library was a small one-room building with a modest collection.
“It’s was mostly just romances and westerns,” explained Wood. “But honestly we felt lucky to even have a library.”
The librarian worked with her coworkers and peers in Helena to expand the library over the years. Eventually, the library would increase the space substantially with an addition, as well as a popular community use room and dedicated kid and teen areas.
Wood said the people who use the library are what she’ll miss most.
“I have never really had anyone be upset or unkind,” said Wood. “I’ll miss the teenagers, and I’ll miss the kids. There’s a lot of the patrons that I’ll just miss like crazy. My coworkers in Helena, I had a blast, and I’ll miss them like crazy too.”
“It’s been a pleasure working with Sherri,” said John Finn, Lewis and Clark Library director. “I always really look forward to my trips up to Lincoln. This community is absolutely going to miss her, and her greater library community [is] going to miss her too.”
Wood said it was a hard decision to finally retire, but she believes it’s time.
“In fact leaving here has been a decision that even now today when I walk through the library, I walk through and think, ‘Oh, I’m not really going to leave am I?’ because it’s been such a great experience for 36 years,” said Wood.
Wood said even in retirement she still plans on helping out in the community by volunteering at the senior center or where people need it.
But first, Wood plans on taking a little time to just relax and enjoy retirement.
-Reported by John Riley/MTN News