One for the books: Long-time New Ipswich librarian steps down

  • Dozens of residents and their children attended a retirement party for New Ipswich Library Director Anne Soini on Monday to say their good-byes. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Library Trustees Debbie Phillips, left, and Michelle Pelletier, right, present Library Director Anne Soini the sign that will hang in the children’s area of the New Ipswich Library, dedicating the room in her name, during Soini’s retirement party Monday.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Dozens of residents and their children attended a retirement party for New Ipswich Library Director Anne Soini on Monday to say their good-byes. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Dozens of residents and their children attended a retirement party for New Ipswich Library Director Anne Soini on Monday to say their good-byes. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Dozens of residents and their children attended a retirement party for New Ipswich Library Director Anne Soini on Monday to say their good-byes. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Dozens of residents and their children attended a retirement party for New Ipswich Library Director Anne Soini on Monday to say their good-byes. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Library Trustee and long-time friend Earl Somero speaks with outgoing Library Director Anne Soini during her retirement party Monday.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Dozens of residents and their children attended a retirement party for New Ipswich Library Director Anne Soini on Monday to say their good-byes. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Dozens of residents and their children attended a retirement party for New Ipswich Library Director Anne Soini on Monday to say their good-byes. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Sophia Somero and Pippa Phillips of New Ipswich with Anne Soini, their librarian.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • New Ipswich Library Director Anne Soini gives a hug to Logan Morrill, 8, of New Ipswich, during her retirement party on Monday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Dozens of residents and their children attended a retirement party for New Ipswich Library Director Anne Soini on Monday to say their good-byes. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Dozens of residents and their children attended a retirement party for New Ipswich Library Director Anne Soini on Monday to say their good-byes. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Dozens of residents and their children attended a retirement party for New Ipswich Library Director Anne Soini on Monday to say their good-byes. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Dozens of residents and their children attended a retirement party for New Ipswich Library Director Anne Soini on Monday to say their good-byes. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 10/2/2019 7:31:23 PM

For nearly 40 years, New Ipswich Library Director Anne Soini has been surrounded by books — and it’s been more of a joy than a job.

“When I first started, I thought, ‘I should pay them to do this job,’” Soini said Friday, just days from her retirement.

She’s been so long on the job, no one’s quite sure when she started, Soini said. She thinks she’s pinned it down to around 1980, meaning she’s been the face of the library for 39 years.

“I’m not going to stick around an extra year just to make it 40,” she joked. “But I will miss the people. And especially the children.”

Library Trustees have decided to honor Soini’s commitment to the job by naming the children’s section after her – appropriate, as interacting with the children has been her favorite part of the job. During Soini’s retirement party on Monday, she was surprised with a sign declaring the section with the children and young adult book stacks “The Anne Soini Children’s Room.”

Dozens of residents visited the library on Monday night to pay their respects and say their good-byes to Soini, leaving flowers, gifts and cards. The children of the library made one last gift for her, using ink pads to put fingerprint “leaves” on a drawing of a tree, one last craft to send her off with.

“It’s sad to see her go, but we definitely hope the best for her,” said Wanda Knisley of New Ipswich.

Knisley said she herself remembers walking to the library from the Central Elementary School for story time with Soini, and as a mother herself, has made a tradition of taking her own children to the Tuesday story hour – which until this week, was still read by Soini.

“It’s a nice generational thing,” Knisley said.

Debbie Phillips, president of the library trustees, said Soini’s time in the job has made her a fixture in the community, particularly for the children who attend the library, which is why the board decided to commemorate the children’s area in her name.

“She’s left some big shoes to fill,” Phillips said.

Phillips husband, Chris Phillips, agreed with that sentiment during Soini’s retirement party Monday. “She’s the face of the community,” he said.

“Think of the library, think of Mrs. Soini,” agreed Kelly Lakanen of New Ipswich.

She’s ready to step down, and enjoy retirement, Soini said. But she knows it will be an emotional good-bye.

“What I’ve been telling everyone is it will be bitter-sweet. I know I’m ready, in this moment, to be done. But I don’t know how I’ll feel a week or a month from now,” Soini said.

Soini said the job has evolved over the years. She started the job before the library had computers, and while the library’s old card catalog still retains a place of honor by the check-out desk, it’s been defunct for years. However, whether she was using a card catalog or a computer, what she’s always loved about the job was the people, and particularly instilling the love of reading in children, she said.

Her retirement doesn’t mean she won’t still be spotted at the library. She plans to be a regular patron.

“I’m sure there will be plenty of times when you’ll find me right here,” she said.

The Board of Trustees for the library is currently searching for a permanent replacement for Soini’s position. Library Trustee Michelle Pelletier will serve as the interim director until a new candidate is hired.




Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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