Librarian closes the chapter on a 25-year career
Do you know what a bibliophile is?
You could probably Google the definition, or you could head to the Jefferson County Library and ask librarian Jackie May to help you find the answer in a dictionary.
But you'd better hurry.
She is checking out Nov. 30 after a 25-year career at the local library.
"Jackie May will always be recognized as the Oregon history librarian at JCLD," said Maureen Caldwell, who used to work with May. "She loves Oregon and local county history. She has been providing researchers, history buffs, and any interested visitors to the library endless detailed information of Oregon from her acquired knowledge, personal experience and library resources with reserve."
The community will get a chance to say farewell to May as she closes one chapter of her life during an open house in her honor from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18. She has asked that if anyone wants to give, to please give to the Three Rivers Humane Society.
May says she's a lifelong bibliophile, and being surrounded by books has been a dream come true.
She enjoys the calm atmosphere in the library; the words, thoughts and knowledge contained in those many books; expressing common interests with patrons and the authors they enjoy; and working alongside great folks over the years.
"There's always something new to learn or discover."
May has lived just north of Madras on a small farm for 34 years. Before she was a librarian, she worked on ranches, where she lambed and herded sheep, built fences, hayed, and harvested wheat.
"Jackie was hired in the summer of 1995. The Library Director Wilma Gibson had resigned, and to help fill the gap, Jackie was hired," said Jefferson County Library Community Services Librarian Gretchen Schlie. "She quickly became an Oregon history specialist and picked up the interlibrary loans."
In addition, May has also worked in technical services and cataloging.
The library world has changed dramatically in the last few decades, and May has kept pace.
"When I began in June 1995, we had the old library cards with metal plate and the inked book cards in pockets, with due date. Hand-typed cards, and handwritten materials. The primitive computer use was entirely in-house," she recalls.
The internet arrived at JCLD, and the process of library work became much more complex, she says. The association with the Deschutes Library system, and later Crook County Library, ushered in the online library websites and a shared library catalog. The library progressed from microfiche readers for ordering and purchasing books, filing paper documents, inquiring of the Oregon State Library for purposes of interlibrary loan borrowing, to all manner of online materials and transactions.
"That's just a tiny portion of the changes witnessed in libraries since collections of scrolls were housed. I am glad to have been a minuscule part of it, for 25 years," May said.
A previous library director, Tammy Pankratz, taught May original cataloging, and she has held that position since 1997. She also branched out to the Spanish materials cataloging.
"The contributions to the online library catalog, with original creations, is akin to assembling a 5,000-piece puzzle. Everything must be accurate to fit in place," May said.
Library Board Trustee Susan Stovall says she has seen May quietly and methodically cataloging every book in her behind-the-scenes duties.
"When a patron checks out a book, they often don't think about the journey that the book takes to get on our shelf," Stovall said. "Jackie, for many years, (was) a key player on that book's journey."
May calls interlibrary loans a treasure hunt when finding materials nationwide and even from Canada for patrons.
But it's the local and Oregon history searches that are her favorite.
"My family arrived in Oregon in the 1840s, and history has been a personal interest since I was a child," May said.
She has also enjoyed all of the "delightful" patrons she has known over the years.
"The JCLD is a small-town library jewel that these folks helped develop and maintain, over many years, with much hard work and dedication. Kudos to them, and our steadfast readers and supporters," May said.
In retirement, she plans to care for her mother, raise animals, and continue to work around her farm, orchard and garden.
Her patrons and co-workers will miss her welcoming smile, her diligence and her eagerness to help — no matter how unusual or strange the request.
"True to the definition of librarian, she has confidently provided access to information and resources," Caldwell said.
May is also the true definition of a bibliophile — one who has a great love of books.
Open House Honoring Jackie May
A Retirement Open House honoring librarian Jackie May is planned for 1-4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, at Jefferson County Library, 241 SE Seventh St., in Madras.
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