Tuesday, February 27, 2024

A lifetime of learning: Leavenworth Branch librarian retires

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LEAVENWORTH – Leavenworth Branch Librarian Amy Massey officially retired at the end of January. Massey started working for NCW Libraries as a Library Assistant substitute in 2015. In 2021, she stepped into the role of Leavenworth’s Branch Librarian.

“[Amy] deeply cares about people, about the relationships, and about the partnerships that she's built within the community. It truly really means a lot to her and she has given her all to making the library a welcoming place, and a safe place, and a place [where] people are just excited to come and participate,” said NCW Libraries Area Manager Nick Husted.

During her time, Massey reopened and revitalized the library after its pandemic closure, led Baby Storytime, created the “Booktoberfest” celebration, installed the local history section, and strengthened collaborations with the Peshastin and Cashmere libraries. To those around her, Massey’s legacy could be defined by her ability to forge meaningful interactions and community events that fostered connection and learning.

“Amy is so good at connecting with people and being sort of a face that people know they can go to, to get help and like, I think she does that better than anyone… I've learned a lot from her about making sure that I'm kind and available and able to help even if I don't feel like I'm able to,” said Grace Camp, Leavenworth Library’s Customer Service Technician.

Massey became a librarian because it checked all of her boxes. It was fun, she could help people, and most importantly, she would be a lifelong learner.

“I would love to think that anyone at any age is always open to learning something new and maybe the library is a place where you can discover that. Like, [if someone says] “Well, I don't know how to do that.” Well, we can learn. We can figure it out. We can try it out. We can tinker and play, and read and discover, and do art and grow,” said Massey.

Over her career, Massey worked in a variety of libraries across the state, including law firm libraries in Seattle, the Skagit County Law in Mt. Vernon, the Darrington and other Sno-Isle public libraries, and the Icicle River Middle School library. 

Her favorite, however, has been the Leavenworth Library. 

“I was so lucky to work with a great team, including [my] co-worked Gracie Camp, who brings talents of art, music, literature, and depth of fun ideas that include the Dungeons and Dragons programs, community read-alouds, and preschool storytimes that include dancing, singing and lots of giggles. The library has a team of Library Assistants, many of whom have worked for many years and keep the library on track, and a crew of volunteers that are vital to the programs and the everyday functioning,” said Massey.

The Friends of the Library group, which fundsraises, promotes literacy, and gives books to students, has also been critical to the success of the library, said Massey.

One of Massey’s favorite memories has been watching Camp create the Dungeons and Dragons program.

“Each week, she has come dressed as a different character, and that has been really fun to see. Seeing Gracie just connect with the teens and the youth has been really inspiring,” said Massey.

When Camp pitched the idea, she said Massey was enthusiastic about it, despite being unfamiliar with the program. It has had major success, bringing in new library patrons and introducing new residents to like-minded people.

“She’s been so, so passionate about creating new opportunities for people. Just being able to like, throw out ideas and come up with new things and be really creative, and have her be so supportive and excited about all of that has been an absolute gift and enjoy,” said Camp.

As Massey steps back, she plans to enjoy the library as both a patron and Library Assistant. She’ll spend her summers backpacking sections of the PCT with her husband and traveling in their van.

Her final project was creating a banner with the NCW Libraries' mission statement. The banner was designed by Celisse Ellis and hangs above the help desk. The project encapsulates Massey’s motivation in her years as a librarian and what she envisions for Leavenworth Library’s future.

“I hope that everybody experiences the library as this place for resources and opportunities that foster individual growth and strengthen communities…There's so much more than just books available, and I hope people know that,” said Massey.

In addition to a wide range of community events it hosts, the library also provides resources such as mobile hotspots, snow shoes, blood pressure monitors, full-spectrum lights, museum passes, Discover passes, and color printing.


Taylor Caldwell: 509-433-7276 or taylor@ward.media

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