Library celebrates 30 years
By Jessica Tuggle
SEBASTIAN -- The month of May will mark two large milestones in the life of the North Indian River County library in Sebastian.
This month, the library will turn 30 years old, and a beloved children's librarian will retire after a little more than 27 years on the job.
Shirley Wolstenholme, affectionately known as "Mrs. W." by both children and adult patrons of the library, will retire on May 30, leaving behind large shoes to fill as children's librarian for Sebastian's library.
On May 10, the library will celebrate quietly with refreshments and trivia games, said Lynn Walsh, current president of Friends of the North Indian River County Library and former library director.
Daniel Clark, library computer specialist, said the library trivia quiz will have questions such as, "how many books are in the library" and a $25 gift certificate as a prize.
The library serving the Sebastian community started in 1983 in the building that now houses the Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce, said Ms. Walsh, who was the library director since the beginning and up through last year.
In the 27 and one-half years Mrs. Wolstenholme has worked as children's librarian, she has impacted the lives of approximately 327,150 children, Ms. Walsh said.
"They will definitely miss her," she said.
As the librarian, Ms. Wolstenholme organized and led the baby, toddler and preschool storytimes, reading challenges, summer activities and special guests, including clowns, animal keepers, musicians, scientists and more.
She has also gone out into the community to carry out reading programs for children's organizations such as Headstart, taking the library and excitement of reading to children who may not have been exposed to it until they reached school-age, Ms. Walsh said.
"She has had quite an impact and knows a lot of kids in the community," Ms. Walsh said.
Sheri Adams has been coming to the library for storytime for the past four years, ever since her first son was born.
As soon as she steps into the room, Mrs. Wolstenholme's energetic voice captures the attention of the young ones. Her animated expressions and inflections make each story sound exciting and new.
To hold the attention of the small children, she alternates between songs and stories, and often invites the children to hold props that correspond with the song, or to do hand motions.
Ms. Adams' sons, Sanis, 4, and Lynx, 22 months, both enjoy listening to the stories and singing along with Mrs. Wolstenholme each week, and are thoroughly engaged for that one hour, Ms. Adams said.
"Lynx can't make it through 20 minutes of cartoons with his brother, but he can sit through an hour of this," she said.
With more than 27 years of being a librarian under her belt, Ms. Wolstenholme says she and her husband are ready for a temporary change in scenery and will be spending the first part of their retirement together traveling in the U.S., but she will miss being a part of all the exciting summer library programs in Sebastian.
The thing that touches her heart the most is when people come up to her and say they remember how much fun they had at library programs with her that they are now bringing their own children to experience storytime and other library activities, Mrs. Wolstenholme said.
"That truly melts my heart," she said.
For more information about the North Indian River County library and its programs for children and adults, call (772) 589-1355 or visit www.sebastianlibrary.com.