Thursday, July 16, 2015

Case Study No. 2093: Karen Mand

Longtime Librarian Closes the Book on 43 Years of Service
Longtime librarian Karen Mand retires after 43 years of service to St. Norbert College.
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Added: 6 months ago
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Longtime Librarian Closes the Book on 43 Years of Service
By Stacy Engebretson. CREATED Jan 14, 2015

De Pere, WI -- The average American worker changes jobs about every four-and-a-half years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. So you can imagine the void St. Norbert College is going to feel as their longtime librarian, Karen Mand, calls it a career after 43 years.

Mand's enthusiasm for working in the college library is as infectious today as it was on her first day on the job back in 1971.

"I love libraries. I love working with books. The atmosphere on campus is a good place to work," she explained.

Mand has seen a lot of changes in 43 years including working in three different libraries on campus.

"Part of my job for many years was typing catalog cards and filing everything. You know once they were typed, they had to be filed."

Then in the late 1980's, she had to adapt to new technology.

"We had one computer for the whole library staff, so we had a sign-up sheet. Everybody had to sign-up for the time they wanted to use the computer."

The evolution of the internet brought new challenges for Mand. She was tasked with tracking 190,000 books and making it easy for students to access them. Now, after more than four decades of service, she's closing the book on her career.

"I don't want to learn anymore technology," Mand said with a chuckle.

Her colleagues threw her a retirement party to express the impact she's had on so many, not just as the Cataloging Management Specialist but also as a Student-Employee Supervisor and through her committee work on campus.

"I hope she feels a sense of pride and a sense of love, I think both of which are very well deserved. She's given so much, shown so much dedication and there are so many people who wish her well," said Library Director Kristin Vogel.

Mand says riding off into retirement is bittersweet.

"It'll be difficult. It will be hard to walk out of here."

It's difficult for the college as well to bid farewell to the one constant among all the changes.

"There will be many people who feel the loss of Karen on a day to day basis," said Vogel.

But Mand is looking forward to starting the next chapter in her life.

"Who knows what the future will bring? I'm open to anything."

Mand plans to spend her free time traveling with her husband, sewing and volunteering on campus and in the community.

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