Starry Farewell to Former Library Manager Karen Taylor – East Greenwich News



Above: Long-time library director Karen Taylor, who retired in 2020, is slicing into her retirement party cake.

Submitted by the friends of the EG library

The front of the library was preparing for a party held by former library director Karen Taylor.

Wednesday night at the East Greenwich Free Library was a special October night under the stars, with the stars! First came the annual meeting with reports assuring guests that everything is in order and that a full reopening is imminent. Second, the guests had the opportunity to congratulate Karen Taylor, former library director, for 40 years of dedication and service. Karen’s retirement undoubtedly makes her days a little easier – but it also opens a new door for Adrienne Girard, who organized the ceremonial meeting on Wednesday and spoke of her own hopes and dreams of running the EAGF. Co-workers, friends, trustees and guests applauded and smiled.

Of course, the Friends of the Library Leadership Committee (FLC) attended the event with their own tribute to Karen, which we would like to share with the EG News community. Here is a reprint of our collective feelings, lovingly written by Gloria DePaolo, Program Director at Friends of the Library LC. It was read aloud and presented to Karen on Wednesday evening:

“For Karen, running the East Greenwich Library was not just a career – it was a passion. She campaigned for this library for 40 years – added its value to the city, attended countless household hearings, and harassed local officials with more money than they wanted to give.

In the early 2000s she convinced a reluctant board of trustees that this 90-year-old building was too small, not fit for the 21st century and simply not worthy of a city like East Greenwich. She led a year-long renovation and expansion program. The library was unlikely to be closed for more than a week during this time. And a few years ago, Karen received a sizeable grant to make the facade of the building wheelchair accessible and to add a lovely garden / reading terrace.

In between these successes, she got a group of volunteers together, asked them to form a leadership committee of the Friends of the Library, and let them do their thing. In return, she got a volunteer group that never stayed home, never stopped pushing, and rarely took no for an answer. The group was a force to be reckoned with. We believed in the mission and wanted to help. Karen was an avid supporter of almost everything we suggested. Book sales, of course, a jewelry sale, some controversial speakers, weekly mindfulness meditation classes, the festive winter evening art galas every December. We hung around Karen’s office, the common room, and at the circulation desk disturbing the staff. Karen never scared us away.

Karen contributed to every Friends of the Library Leadership Committee meeting. She visited every winter evening for nine years and even bought and shared some of the original artwork on display. She sorted bracelets and rings and occupied a table at our first jewelry sale. She stored, sorted, and carried books for book sales. She put on a brimmed hat with pearls for Downton Abbey tea that filled the common room.

Karen supported our programs – the beer tasting, a talk on the pros and cons of the drone war, the before and after of the 2016 elections, an enumeration on how to win recipe competitions, a panel discussion led by the late Jim Taricani on the history of corruption in our state policy, a day of Korean cuisine and culture and much more.

She knew that the Friends of the Library’s success was her success, and the library’s success. Participation was the order of the day. Karen was one of us. As a result, in 2019 the Rhode Island Library Association honored the Friends of the East Greenwich Free Library with a Meritorious Friends of the Library Award for outstanding contributions to quality library service. It wouldn’t have happened without Karen.

Sometimes different but never uncomfortable – her laughter was recognized throughout the library. Marie Kondo would have had a serious heart attack in her office. Stacks of books waiting to be cataloged, stacks of folders and papers, post-its stuck everywhere. . . For anyone who dared look inside, it was chaos. But Karen must have enjoyed it. It worked effortlessly there. She knew where everything was, she never lost anything, and that was great!

She asked little, but for 40 years she gave so much to the Society of Friends of the Library Management, the Library and the Congregation – and we are all grateful for her dedication to this place that we treasure.

As Karen enjoys her retirement years, the Friends of the Library Leadership Committee hopes she will see Mr. Rogers as an all age sage who said, “Often times when you think you are at the end of something, you are at the beginning of something something different.”

The youngest board members of the Friends of the Library Leadership Committee, Sandra Norris, Allison Perrelli, Paulette Miller, Cele Mark, Celene Healy, Mary Beth Dumouchel, Mary Welch and Gloria DePaola – and we are sure our founder Carolin Goldman, as as well as ours Former Presidents Natalie Higgins and Lisa Sussman – say: “A happy start to something else and thank you, good friend, for leaving us wonderful memories in this jewel of a building.”

See you in the library!

Gloria DiPaola, a member of Friends of the Library, made some comments about Karen Taylor’s long tenure at the helm of the EG Free Library.

It was a perfect night to sit outside the library entrance, which was just one of Karen Taylor’s legacies.

Karen Taylor’s cake.

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