For nearly four decades, Jan Thomas has been a familiar face behind the counter at the Breese Public Library.
Now it’s time for Thomas to start a new chapter in her life. After nearly 40 years, Thomas is retiring from her position as head librarian. Her last day is Thursday, June 30.
Taking over on Friday, July 1 is new librarian Angie Chute of Highland, who was hired by the Breese Library Board earlier this month.
Thomas got her start as a member of the Breese Library Board in 1976 when former librarian Alice Osborne was still at the helm and the library was still located on the second floor of the former City Hall.
“I started out as a volunteer typing cards for the card catalog,” Thomas said. “Can you believe they didn’t even have a card catalog back then? Alice just knew where everything was.”
Thomas was appointed librarian in March 1988.
“I know I’ll miss all the people that I’ve come to know through the years and I’ll miss working with Diane,” Thomas said.
Diane Holtgrave was hired as assistant librarian in September 1976 and remains in that role today.
The two have seen many changes through the years.
One of the main events was the construction of a new building in 1976. A conveyor system was used to move the estimated 11,000 books from the upstairs of the former City Hall to the new facility to the east. Eighth-grade students from St. Dominic’s assisted with the project — the girls sorted books and packed them into boxes while the boys hauled the boxes.
The grand opening of the new building was held in April 1977.
Since moving to its current location, there have been many enhancements made. The delivery/interlibrary loan system with Kaskaskia Library System started in September 1980. Breese joined the Lewis & Clark Library System in 1993 and the library is currently part of the Illinois Heartland Library System which covers 28,141 square miles in Illinois and serves a population of over 2 million.
A library expansion project was completed in 1991 to include a separate children’s room and an adjacent meeting room that can be used by local organizations, an enlarged office area, two private study rooms, more shelving and an enlarged periodical and reading area.
The expansion made the library totally handicapped accessible with the addition of a second entrance on the south side.
Computer automation took place in 1997 and was no easy task as information from every card file had to be entered into the computer and each book was bar coded.
“When we first became automated, we sent everyone in town a new library card,” Thomas said. “I think it would be great if everyone had a library card and took advantage of all the library has to offer.”
Computerization and the changes which have come with the Internet have only added to the offerings at the Breese Public Library. Six upgraded computers are available today for patrons who need access to the Internet or for students who may need help researching information for a school paper.
Electronic books, now available through 3-M Cloud, is a popular advancement. Library patrons have the ability to view and check out e-books online or in person.
Thomas said it’s hard to believe that 40 years have come and gone.
She’s gone from typing card files for each book title that was added to having the ability to order books online from any of the nearly 600 member libraries in their system.
With retirement, Thomas said she plans to simply enjoy life with her family.
“I may take a few trips and just do what I want to do for awhile,” she said.
Meanwhile, new Breese librarian Angie Chute, looks forward to the challenges that lie ahead.
Chute, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Greenville College, started working in the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library in 1992 as a page. She was later promoted to a clerk. After graduating with a master’s degree in Library and Information Science, Chute was promoted to librarian and then to branch manager of one of the 26 branches in the Indianapolis library system.
After moving from Indianapolis to Highland in 2010, she volunteered at the local library offering book discussions for a library book club.
“I love to do book discussions, and that’s one of the first things I want to start here,” she said.
The mother of five adult children and grandmother (“Mimi,” actually) of nine grandchildren ages 1-8, Chute and her husband intend to relocate to Breese after her husband retires from his job in Highland.
She enjoys world traveling, reading, geocaching, Broadway shows, Blues music, and all things England.
Chute feels fortunate to have assistant librarian Diane Holtgrave and library clerk Jan Humphrey remaining on staff for their invaluable experience.
“We’ve got people who know how it’s always been done before,” Chute said. “I’ve got some new ideas but they can let me know what’s worked in the past and what hasn’t worked.”
Chute looks forward to starting a variety of themed programs for adults, as well as children. For instance, one year she organized a World War II themed program with various books from that era.
She also hopes to explore and learn more about the history of Breese.
“Right now, all I know about is Ski,” she said with a smile.
“I’ve got a lot to learn but I’m really excited,” she said. “It’s a wonderful, friendly town already.”
Upcoming library events and offerings will be published in the Breese Journal. You can also keep informed by “liking” the Breese Public Library on Facebook or visiting the library’s website at www.breeselibrary.org.
The sky over Carlyle Lake will be filled with color Saturday night, July 2 as fireworks displays will begin at dusk on Carlyle Lake’s Point One and to the north at the Keyesport Legion.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Carlyle Lake is preparing for a fun and safe weekend celebrating Independence Day. Family oriented activities will be taking place throughout the weekend, and all activities are free and open to the public.
The highlight of the weekend will be the annual Dam Jam and fireworks on Saturday at the Dam West Beach.
Registration for the Sand Castle Contest and the Sand Volleyball Tournament begins at noon. The volleyball tournament begins at 12:30 p.m.
The Corps will host Water Safety Games at 12:30 p.m.
Other events on Saturday include:
• 11:30 a.m. - Carlyle Sailing Association Open House
• 2 p.m. - Sand Castle Judging
There will be live bands at the Dam West Day Use Shelter 2 all day from noon to 8 p.m.
The lineup is: • 1 p.m. - Davis Bros. Band
• 2 p.m. Simple Therapy
• 4 p.m. Stump Water Shine
• 5:30 p.m. Double Shot
• 7:30 p.m. Riverside Tavern
Dam West, Coles Creek and Boulder campgrounds have sites available on a first-come, first-serve basis and through reservation by calling the National Recreation Reservation Service at 1-877-444-6777 or online at www.recre ation.gov. McNair and Dam East campgrounds are open on a first-come, first-serve basis. Eldon Hazlet State Park has sites available on a first-come, first-serve basis or online at www.reserveamerica.com.
The Corps of Engineers offers educational programs in the campgrounds and at the beaches every weekend throughout the recreation season. Activities for Friday, Sunday and Monday include:
Friday, July 1
• 8 p.m. - Lightning Bugs at the West Bay Amphitheater, Dam West Campground.
• 8 p.m. – Water Safety Showdown at the Cattail Cove Amphitheater, Coles Creek Campground.
• 8 p.m. – X Marks the Spot at the Brewster Creek Amphitheater, Boulder Campground.
Sunday, July 3
• 2:30 p.m. – Water Safety Games at McNair Beach.
• 2:30 p.m. – Water Safety Games at Dam West Beach.
• 3:30 p.m. – Water Safety Games at Coles Creek Beach. • 3:30 p.m. – Water Safety Games at Keyesport Beach.
• 8 p.m. – Water Safety Showdown at West Bay Amphitheater, Dam West Campground.
• 8 p.m. – X Marks the Spot at Cattail Cove Amphitheater, Coles Creek Campground.
• 8 p.m. - Lightning Bugs at Brewster Creek Amphitheater, Boulder Campground.
Monday, July 4:
• 2:30 p.m. - Water Safety Games at McNair Beach.
• 2:30 p.m. – Water Safety Games at Dam West Beach.
• 3:30 p.m. – Water Safety Games at Coles Creek Beach.
• 3:30 p.m. – Water Safety Games at Keyesport Beach.
The Carlyle Lake Visitor Center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Visitor Center has exhibits, an informational video on Carlyle Lake, gift shop, and brochures to help plan your stay at Carlyle Lake. Life jackets are available at the Visitor Center through the “Life Jacket Loan Program”. For a $5 deposit, a life jacket can be borrowed for the day. When it is returned in good condition, the deposit will be refunded.
Please remember to always wear your life jacket when in, on, or around the water. Life jacket loaner stations are also available at Keyesport, Dam West, McNair, and Coles Creek beaches and boat ramps.
|Fri., June 24
|Sun., June 26
|Tues., June 28||445.21|