Holley gives retiring library clerk a big sendoff

Posted 18 January 2014 at 12:00 am

Rita Grosser worked 22 years at Community Free Library

Photos by Sue Cook – Rita Grosser, left, and Library Director Sandra Shaw pose for a picture during a retirement party for Grosser at the library today.

By Sue Cook, staff reporter

HOLLEY – A big crowd turned out today for a retirement party for Rita Grosser, who worked 22 years at the Community Free Library in Holley.

Before retiring on Dec. 30, she was their Primary Interlibrary Loan Clerk. Grosser was often the first smiling face anyone saw coming into the library.

“She’s been the basis of this library for many years,” said Sandra Shaw, library director.

Originally, Grosser learned the card catalog, which the librarians nicknamed the cuticle killer. When the first computer was introduced to the library, she learned that as well. The computer wasn’t even on the Internet and instead was linked directly to the NIOGA library database.

“I would like to thank the board for providing a home away from home,” Grosser said in a speech this afternoon. She thanked the children who came into the library for enriching her life and hoped she has served everyone well. “Bless you to all of you and thank you.”

In her employment, Grosser worked with six library directors. She helped with numerous story hours and summer programs. She was there during the expansion of the library into the neighboring video store. She saw changes in technology, such as the move from book-on-tape to book-on-CD and into the downloadable era. The VHS collection that was mostly non-fiction informational films was replaced by DVDs. The explosion of media devices throughout the years has had an impact on the library and her job.

Grosser tells everyone how happy she is to have worked with coworkers and patrons over the years.

Grosser herself is very impressed with the NIOGA interloan system that does not charge a fee like some in Monroe County. If a book is not available in your local library it can be requested and it shows up within two or three days and at no extra charge. She is happy to see an increase in the use of the system from patrons.

Grosser moved from Johnsonburg, Pa., to be closer to her family. Shaw, the library director, recalls working with Grosser at Hurd Orchards in Holley before either of them worked at the library. Eventually they both moved on to the Holley library and Grosser trained Shaw to be a clerk.

Even now that Shaw is director, it is clear she holds great respect for Grosser.

“Rita and I have been through a lot together over the years,” Shaw said.

It was clear from the attendance at her retirement party today that Rita has made a significant impact in many lives. Besides coworkers, the library was flooded with patrons and friends coming to celebrate her hard work. The back room of the library was packed and the party began to trickle out into the main area. It is a safe estimate that well over a hundred people came to visit her, and likely even more than that based on people stopping just to give a hug and wish her well.

Amidst the celebration, everyone only had kind words and high praises to offer. Many stated that Grosser was an amazing listener who provided thoughtful answers. Grosser was also known for getting down to eye level with many of the children and explaining that she knew their parents at the same young age.

“I hope she enjoys her retirement,” said Amanda O’Connell, library board member. “We’ll miss her. She was always so open to new ideas.”

Grosser has some mixed emotions about retiring. She is going to take some time to focus on herself, but she also plans to occasionally volunteer at the library and is especially looking forward to Pajama Story Hour, as well as other summer programs.