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Kathy Payne has worked for the city government for 20 years. The city also honored librarian Gretchen Kolderup.

PMG PHOTO: SCOTT KEITH - St. Helens Public Library Youth Librarian Gretchen Kolderup displays learning tools from the Library of Things. The St. Helens City Council recently recognized two employees for their length of service to the city and community.

Logging 20 years of experience with St. Helens is Kathy Payne. She is St. Helens' human resources coordinator and city recorder.

Gretchen Kolderup, who is youth librarian at the St. Helens Public Library, was also recognized for five years of service.

Payne has a long history with the city, beginning as planning secretary in April 2001. In 2008, Payne took over the duties of city recorder and was reclassified to that position, where she has served ever since.

Contacted by the Spotlight on the honor, Payne said, "I absolutely love working for the city and serving the citizens of this wonderful community. I have worked with some pretty amazing people and, over the years, have enjoyed interactions between myself and different elected officials, city employees, other agencies and the general public."

Payne continued, "This is the most rewarding career and I'm blessed to be serving in this capacity."

Kolderup joined the St. Helens Public Library in 2016 as youth librarian.

Kolderup has delighted young library visitors with her storytimes with rhymes, as well as songs. She is also known for her fun puppet voices.

"Gretchen has built a deep connection to the community through her outreach to Head Start, the schools and the Recreation Program," a statement from the city reads.

Kolderup has also brought an emphasis on inclusive programming, STEM-based education, and diverse collection policies to the library, the city's announcement noted.

Kolderup told the Spotlight, "It's been a delight to serve the St. Helens community for five years, and I'm honored by the city's Length of Service Award. Families and other library patrons have been so welcoming and friendly, and I count myself lucky to get to work at the library with talented, creative colleagues."

Kolderup said, "I find my work deeply meaningful, and I'm so thankful I get to do that work for the people of St. Helens."

Asked what she most enjoys about serving the library and community, Kolderup responded, "I love working in a smaller community where I can develop relationships with families and help support their children's love of reading and learning as they grow."

She continued, "While I've only been with the library for five years, I've gotten to see storytime babies become proud kindergarteners and bookworm tweens become teens who are curious about the wider world."

The awards were presented at a recent City Council work session.


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