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A tribute to Shirla Hanson

Shirla Hanson retired from the Douglas County Library at the end of April. She worked at the front check out desk of the library for nearly 38 years. Yes, Shirla is finally checking out with no renew or return date.

I had the pleasure of working with Shirla for 30 years. Her appearance belies her age. She looks the same as when I met her back in 1982, and she still views each and every day as dress up day at work.

She is always dressed to kill with her fancy jewelry and high heels. When I returned to work after breaking my ankle in 2006, I parked in front of the building where there were ridges of ice and out came Shirla in her high heels to help me into the building.

She always had an old fashioned work ethic. She got to work early and loved to keep busy. She can put away more books faster than anyone I have ever met.

Shirla has experienced many changes over the years. She began working back when the library was housed in the old Carnegie building at 7th and Fillmore. Those were the days - no computers, no cell phones, no automated library system. No Internet, no twitter, no tweets, just the old fashioned card catalog, where you looked up a book and then went to find it on a shelf.

Everything was done by hand and names and addresses of library card holders were recorded in big ledger books. Life was simpler then.

Shirla loves people, especially those who frequent the library. She greets people with a smile and by name. She is such a people person, whether she is asking about your grandchildren or telling you about the latest thriller, or calming those who get upset over dues.

Shirla knows her customers well. A few years ago the people voted her their favorite government employee. People often brought her gifts. Her favorite flower is the rose and on her birthday the library smelled like a rose garden with all the roses that were delivered.

Many elderly men always told her how nice she looked and even asked her out on dates. One gentleman even said she could bring her husband along.

I often told her she would make an excellent used car salesperson because she is not afraid to ask for things and she never took rejection personally. She asked every single person who came into the library to buy a ticket for the annual library chili feed and if they declined it did not bother her in the least. She would just move right on to the next person.

Shirla made work fun and was behind numerous practical jokes over the years. I distinctly remember one busy Friday when she convinced all the employees to call in sick. It was April Fool's Day.

I was always convinced when I was away that she never even opened the library doors and had a party all day long.

Shirla plans to relax and spend time with her family in retirement, especially her seven children, 13 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Shirla wishes to thank everyone she has met over the years at the library and she feels it was a pleasure to serve them.

Shirla should be named a national treasure and she will definitely be missed at the library.