Commentary - Good-bye, Karen; you left a legacyWe lost a good friend this past week. Even if you never met her, Karen Simmons helped you, your children, and almost every resident of Douglas County.
By Allen Senstad, Douglas County resident and Friend of the Library
We lost a good friend this past week. Even if you never met her, Karen Simmons helped you, your children, and almost every resident of Douglas County.
A modern-day library can be quite a challenge. It must be flexible enough to allow readers to read online or, in some cases, learn to get online, and yet still cater to we traditionalists who never want to give up the ability to turn a page. It needs to meet a public demand for extended hours, and do so with fewer resources. Karen had the organizational ability, foresight and people skills to meet all of the demands of being a library director.
Yet I believe her greatest contribution to our community came before she ever took over as the head of the library. For years, Karen was the children’s librarian. She arranged tours for schools from one end of the county to the other, so all the children of our community knew where the library was and how to use it. She helped develop a great “story hour” program to ensure those children learned of the magic of the written word. While she was always a caring and friendly person, I don’t believe I ever saw her “come alive” the way she did when she read a book to a group of children, or described a new program for enticing children to read to the library board of the Friends of the Library.
Think about it. If you can read well, you can learn about anything. If you can’t, you miss out on the history of our world, its philosophies, and the incredible magic of worlds and words that are limited only by our collective imagination. The people of our community understand that. The Douglas county Library continues to be the only government service used by almost every resident of this county every year. Karen Simmons helped make us the well-read and knowledgeable community we are today.
I suppose it could be easy at a time like this to cry out to whatever god we may worship with anger and frustration, asking why does this happen? I fear that one 19-year-old woman may relive that foggy morning every day for the rest of her life. However, I’d rather remember what we gained, rather than what we lost. I think Karen would, too.
Good-bye, good and faithful servant. Thank you for the legacy you left behind.