Pleasant Hill, Missouri            Wednesday,  February 25, 2015                ©2014 Pleasant Hill Times

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Open house for retiring librarian

Pleasant Hill branch librarian Marianna Decker (center) is presented a plaque in recognition of her 27 years of service at the Pleasant Hill branch of the Cass County Public Library at an open house and reception held in her honor last Friday afternoon. Another reception was held on Saturday morning. Marianna is retiring and her last day at the library was Saturday. Pictured (from left) are library assistant Cindy Kalwei, library assistant Pam Gough, Cass County Public Library assistant director Seth Hershberger, Pleasant Hill branch librarian Marianna Decker, library assistant Arva Umland and newly named Pleasant Hill branch librarian Jane MulvihillJones. Readers can get to know Jane better in the profile on Page 4 of this week’s Pleasant Hill Times. Marianna started work with the library in Pleasant Hill in 1988 to cover Saturday hours and eventually became the branch librarian in Pleasant Hill. She is looking forward to retirement and an opportunity to do more volunteer work in the community, but says she will miss the patrons and staff at the library.

Librarian looking forward to retirement

..After 27 years at the Pleasant Hill branch of the Cass County Public Library, Marianna Decker is finally looking forward to retirement. Her last day at the library was on Saturday and a reception and open house were held at the Pleasant Hill branch in her honor on Friday and Saturday.
..Marianna was first hired as a part time librarian in 1988 to cover the Saturday hours at the Pleasant Hill branch.
..At that time, the library was housed in the old Booth building across the street from the Pleasant Hill Post Office on Veterans Parkway that is now occupied by Trendz.
..As the circulation of books grew, Marianna’s hours increased and when other members of the staff left for various reasons, she was hired as branch manager.
..The library eventually outgrew the space at the Booth Building and the Pleasant Hill branch moved to a larger building on 7 Highway in the late 1980s.
..Circulation continued to grow and on a really busy day the library saw 75 or more books being checked out.
..As library use continued to increase, the Pleasant Hill branch found a home in a new building on 7 Highway that had just been built.
..“This has been a good move,” Marianna said. “ Our circulation has increased to about 300 books a day and we have five computers for adult use and one for children to use. We also have wi-fi for our library patrons’ usage.”
..Marianna is proud of the programs that have been added at the library.
..For example, story time is held every Wednesday and is especially popular with children during the summer. Marianna brings in guest speakers and programs have included Yvonne with Wings of Love, a juggler, a magician, a clown, a conservationist and many more.
..The programs are usually “hands-on” and Marianna was always on the lookout for new, interesting topics to explore.
..One of the most popular programs was the Critter Carnival. Area families brought goats, chickens, llamas, alpacas and other animals to the library. The children learned about the animals and read related stories about them. Another fun event has been the Pet Animal Parade. Children were invited to bring their stuffed animals and have a parade. Prizes were awarded for various categories.
..Water balloons were blown up by the Dusters 4-H Club for Wacky Water Days at the library and the youngsters enjoyed Sonic ice cream to finish the summertime favorite.
..All the library activities include a time for reading. Story time continues year round. When school is in session, it is mostly attended by pre-schoolers and home schooled children. There are no age restrictions.
..“We do expect polite behavior,” she said.
..All of the children enjoy the lively participation when they can share their own ideas. Themes for the story time sessions change all of the time. At one time they closed Story Time with a movie and popcorn.
..Many changes have occurred at the Pleasant Hill branch during Marianna’s 27 years at the library.
..At first, everything was handled manually from checking out books to keeping track of due dates and overdues.
..Now, everything is on the computer including an electronic reminder to patrons when their books are due.
..Added services have made the hiring of a part time clerk necessary. Part of Marianna’s challenge has been to keep books and programs that appeal to different ages of children and adults and to stay within a slim budget.
..“We have a lot of help,” she says. “We could not offer these programs without generous donations from organizations, businesses and individuals in the community.”
..Although February 21 was her last day, Marianna will be around for a while to train the new manager.
..She already has some plans for her retirement. Her father will celebrate his 90th birthday in April, and she is helping plan a really big celebration for him.
..Her parents have always lived in Newton, Iowa, have been active in the community and have many friends and neighbors who are ready to help him celebrate his birthday.
..“We expect about 200 guests for the celebration,” she said.
..Another special occasion she is looking forward to is helping her daughter, Jenny, plan her wedding in 2016. She will also take time to visit Jenny in Las Vegas.
..She has a grandson starting school next fall and will enjoy sharing this exciting time with him.
..“I don’t have a set schedule and it will be nice to have no firm commitments,” she said, “but I will miss all the library patrons and staff.
..She hopes to volunteer for projects like the Optimist Club’s backpack program, but otherwise plans to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle.

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