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posted: 12/23/2013 4:30 PM

Grayslake library says farewell to longtime employee

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Submitted by Grayslake Area Public Library

After 25 years of service, employee Mary Fitch, who announced she will be retiring at the end of December, said the thing she'll miss most about working at the Grayslake Area Public Library is the regulars.

Fitch began her career at the Grayslake Library in June of 1988 as a circulation clerk. She started out working eight hours a week, and in 1992, moved into a full-time position as the interlibrary loan clerk.

Fitch helps patrons obtain materials from other libraries that are not available at the Grayslake library. She also fills loan requests from different libraries with Grayslake materials that are sent out around the country. When Fitch first began working with interlibrary loans, she may have had five to ten requests from patrons in a week. Now she processes anywhere from 40-50 per week for Grayslake Patrons and fulfills 20-30 requests from other libraries.

In addition to the increase in volume of interlibrary loan requests, Fitch has seen many changes in her position. When she first began, all the steps involved were done manually: using punch cards, paper and telephone. With the introduction of computers and the Internet, the system was streamlined and has allowed Fitch to reach out farther geographically and assist more patrons than ever before.

"Mary Fitch has been a dedicated employee and served our patrons well over the years. She will be missed, and we wish her the best as she enters into retirement," said library director Roberta Thomas.

When asked what Fitch likes most about her job, the joy of helping someone get the materials they need from another library is at the top of her list. She said it was exciting to see materials arrive in Grayslake from far away locations or obscure places.

Fitch is looking forward to her retirement and having the time now to volunteer and get involved in local senior activities. And while she is happy to be able to retire, she is also a little sad to leave the Grayslake Area Public Library.