LEMOORE — A local librarian is checking out this week.
The Lemoore Branch Library’s Christine Baize retired Wednesday after three decades of service to the community.
“It’s kind of scary. It’s a transition and transitions are always scary. But I’m excited because there are things I want to do,” Baize said.
Baize said that she may work part time after a year or two and that she and her husband, Lawrence, may go on vacation in the spring, but otherwise she has no grand plans for retirement other than relaxing.
However, she does want to spend some of that newfound free time volunteering in the community. She said she has plans devote her time to helping the elderly as well as other projects she’s passionate about.
“My niece is a kindergarten teacher and she said I could come read to her children, so that’s something I’m looking forward to,” she said.
The librarian, a Lemoore native, began her career with a two-year stint at the Hanford Public Library before transferring to the Lemoore branch, where she has worked for the past 29 years.
Baize said that forging relationships with library patrons and watching young readers grow up to start bringing in children of their own has been the highlight of her career.
“Just having pleasant interactions with the patrons, that’s what I’m going to miss,” she said. “I’ll miss my coworkers, too. But I think to make a good impression on people coming to the library, and to show them that you’re friendly, they tend to open up more. I have made a lot of memorable relationships here.”
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Almost on cue, a patron leaving the library called out, “We’ll miss you, Christine!” while the librarian spoke to the Sentinel Tuesday.
An outpour of congratulations from well-wishers flooded the social media earlier this week for Baize, as well. A post on the Lemoore Library’s Facebook page about Baize’s retirement drew dozens of kind comments.
“You are as much the reason I go to the Library as the Books,” posted Terry Taylor Cespedes.
“You’ve been there from the moment each of my children became readers. You’ve watched them grow. You have always been a huge supporter of my years in the classroom and helped track down every book I’ve ever needed as a resource,” Mary Hartigan Jones wrote in a comment.
Baize took the time to respond to each and every one of the Facebook comments personally.
An avid reader — she has her own library card number memorized — not only does Baize have fond memories of the library’s patrons, she has fond memories of the books themselves. Passing through library, she’ll occasionally see a book cover that sparks a memory and think, “Oh, I remember reading that book back in 1990,” she said.
“People may think it’s corny, but I’m going to miss walking the aisles and putting books back on the shelves,” she said.
Baize said books still catch her eye that she’s just got to read, saying some of her recent favorites include the “Clan of the Cave Bear” series and “Atlas Shrugged.” She’s fond of books about religion and history, as well.
“You can’t be bored in a library,” she said. “Or even in life. My grandchildren will say, ‘oh granny, I’m bored’ and I go, ‘you can’t be bored when there are plenty of books to read.”