Shelby's Farewell

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By Liz Premo, Atlantic News Staff Writer

Atlantic News, Friday, February 4, 2005

WE ARE FAMILY — Lane Memorial Library Children’s Room staff members (from left) Joanne Mulready and Cynthia Stosse will soon be saying “good-bye” to fellow staffer Shelby Edwards (right), who will devote her workday to doing chores on a horse farm in Massachusetts.
[Atlantic News Courtesy Photo by Bill Teschek]

HAMPTON -- Full-time life on the farm is calling Shelby Edwards.

Employed as a library assistant for the last 2-1/2 years in the Children’s Room of the Lane Memorial Library, Edwards is exchanging bookstacks for horse stalls when her tenure at the library ends on Tuesday, February 15.

“It was hard for her to make this decision,” says Children’s Librarian Cynthia Stosse, who notes that with Edwards’ impending departure, “it’s almost like you’re losing part of the family.”

Edwards, who hails from South Carolina, has been doing double duty at both the library and on a horse farm located in the Topsfield/ Boxford area of Massachusetts. There, she and her husband work together taking care of the farm and its four-legged residents.

Holding down two full-time jobs (and commuting between them) has proven to be somewhat of a chore in and of itself. Edwards takes care of her farm responsibilities from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., before leaving for her 3-8 p.m. shift at the library. There, among her many tasks, she has assisted with collection development; recommended new books (especially in the teen area); and started book groups for the library’s younger patrons.

“The work day is just too long,” she admits, adding that she will be able to solely focus on providing general equestrian care and feeding to the horses, as well as mucking stalls and curry-combing, among numerous other related tasks.

“I’ll be doing all of that,” she says.

FOND FAREWELL! -- Lane Memorial Library's very own Shelby Edwards (pictured here with Hampton Academy Junior High School student and library volunteer Phillip Munson) said "good-bye" to the Children's Room at a going away party held recently in her honor. Edwards left her position as library assistant to work full-time on a horse farm in Massachusetts. [Atlantic News Courtesy Photo by John M. Holman]

Edwards earned her M.Ed. degree in 1998 at Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Experienced in elementary school education, her time at the library has been “a great way to use my teaching experience outside the classroom.” She and her husband moved north to Hampton in 2001, eventually relocating down to Massachusetts and farm work.

Edwards says what she has enjoyed most about her hours in the Children’s Room is the fun she has had working with Stosse (“We taught her how to be 'spirited,’” laughs Stosse) and fellow library assistant Joanne Mulready, who shares Edwards’ enthusiasm for their workplace camaraderie.

“What can I say about Shelby?” asks Mulready. “She has been the greatest joy to work with. Her smile, her southern drawl, her sense of humor, her 'southern stories’ — her personable way she deals with people and her ability to interact with the children [have] made it such a pleasure to have her part of our team. I will miss her terribly!”

“She just became important to the kids,” says Stosse. “She had an impact on the library and the community. She’ll really be missed.”

As she prepares to say “good-bye” to co-workers who have become good friends, Edwards looks back on her time at the Lane Memorial Library.

“It’s been fun; I’ve really enjoyed working here,” she says. “They’re a great group of people. I’m going miss them greatly.”

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