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Monday, December 8, 2014

Monday Discussion: Farewell to Our Fearless Leader

From left to right: Kathy, Jose, and Crystal
You will have to indulge me today with the Monday Discussion because today is the Head of the BPL's RA Dream Team-- Kathy's-- last day. She is leaving to join the team at the Skokie Public Library.

I am organizing a group tribute to her-- one that will live forever here on the blog. Most of the comments today will be from BPL staffers, but, there are many of you out there who have worked with Kathy, so please if you would like to leave a comment, feel free.

Okay, my turn.

When Briana and I were hiring for the open RA Librarian job seven years ago Kathy's was the very last interview we did, and as soon as she left, we looked at each other and knew we had found the person we wanted to join our team. We loved her so much we were worried we liked her too much.  Thankfully, we were correct in our initial assessment.

In the years that followed she moved from a librarian position to become our Department Head and even our Interim Director for a few weeks. But, she also become the spirit and driving force behind our dynamic RA and Teen service here at the Berwyn Library.

I was proud to call her my boss. I am a better librarian because of the work we have done together. She challenged each of us to use our talents to better our service to our patrons and encouraged us to learn new skills.

I could go on all day listing the fabulous things Kathy did here, but if  I had to praise her for only one thing it would be The Book Lover's Club.  This was her idea. A time and place where book lovers could meet and talk about the books they love. And then, to have us take notes on the participants' suggestions and share them on our staff recommendation blog, The Browser's Corner, was brilliant. No matter where I work in my career, this will be one of the ideas I take with me everywhere I go.

Personally, I will miss the camaraderie of having another RA Librarian right here at the BPL-- someone as committed to service to leisure readers as myself. Those of you who read the blog regularly know I have dedicated my life to RA Service in a public library setting, and I do not take this praise of Kathy lightly.  There are very few people out there equal to Kathy in her dedication AND skill at serving leisure readers. She is in an elite bunch.

While I will miss Kathy, I am glad to know she will still be working in the area in RA, and that I will get to collaborate with her via ARRT and other regional RA things. And those of you in the Skokie Public Library service area, watch out...you are about to hit the jackpot!

Now it is your turn.  Anyone out there who wants to leave a tribute to Kathy, use the comments.

For past Monday Discussions, click here.


Mike Da Pisa said...

Kind, courteous, classy and professional. That's is Kathy Sexton. Whether assisting patrons with books or assisting staff as a Union Representative, Kathy has been one of the most valuable resources the Berwyn Public Library has ever had. Our loss is the library world's gain. Good Luck, Kathy!

John BPL RA said...

I don't like bosses. I don't like teams. I don't like people who rely on others. Kathy made me like - no, LOVE - all of these things. In all the years I worked with her I can't once recall having a single argument, confrontation or problem with her. But of course, there's more to it than that. I saw the way she did her job and liked it instantly. She is a wonderful librarian and a dear friend who I will miss tremendously. She's the opposite of every boss I've ever had and, therefore, the BEST boss I've ever had. Good luck Kathy. We all love you.

Angelica (YS) said...


You have listened to me on several occassions. We have laughed at the most crazy things and your just a great person to be around. You made days here so easy and light because you don't let things to get to you. I learned that valuable lesson from you and I take that with me always. You are patient and kind and you know how to handle any situation that comes your way. Skokie Library is so lucky to have you. It has been a pleasure to have worked with you so I hope your new oppurtunity is met with the best success. The best of luck.

Shaynie Klein said...

Kathy's time at the Berwyn Public Library has been a professional and personal benefit to all who have worked with her and/or otherwise interacted with her.

I'm not saying "good luck" to you, Kathy, but rather "you're so good that luck isn't even involved". Who you are and what you have done at BPL is very much appreciated and will be very much missed!

Elizabeth said...

I am so pleased I had the opportunity to work with Kathy as my internship mentor while I was in grad school. She was always very encouraging and supportive of me as a new librarian, and I cherish the time we had working the desk together as she taught me so much about RA and collection development. It was also a real joy to watch her lead the dream team, because that is exactly what she did- lead! Kathy didn't just manage a department she exemplified amazing leadership skills by motivating her staff and ensuring they felt confident and valued. Thank you for your support and kindness, dear Kathy, Skokie is so very lucky to have you!

Christi said...

As the first Berwyn Library RA department intern, I am so grateful that Kathy was not only up for taking on a student, but so flexible and accommodating in allowing me to get the most out of my internship. She immediately made me feel welcome and a part of the department.

But even more than that, she became my friend, and for that I'll be ever thankful.

Kathy, I know you're going to rock your new job. Thank you for being a dear and supportive friend, and a great example of a fantastic librarian. I know BPL will miss you immensely.

(But I hope I'll see you soon! :) )

Tara BPLteen said...


Thank you for taking a chance on a geeky, overeager preschool teacher. I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to start a new chapter of my life in a different industry and so incredibly honored to have learned what I know from you. You have been a great teacher, leader, and friend. You supported me when I was floundering but always gave me plenty of room to stretch and grow and try out new ideas. (Some of them even worked!) I will always think of you as a mentor and friend. You know you will be missed; I don't need to tell you that.

But I will anyway. I will miss you. We will miss you. Skokie Library is so lucky to have you.

For your next chapter, I wish you fun and joy and challenges and growth and success and lots of inappropriate laughter!

Be good. Be okfine. More butter. More syrup.


Kathy, no longer BPL said...

To Everyone,
Thank you so much for all the kind words. Berwyn has given me so many wonderful memories, new friends, and growing pains - which, of course, every job should. There is much I will miss but I am so excited to start a new adventure! I am sure I will see you all in library land.