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Arlene Farrell Retires From Lane Memorial Library

By Ian Nadeau

Atlantic News, Thursday, January 17, 2002

Arlene Farrell and her great-granddaughter
REVERED RETIREE—Arlene Farrell of Hampton examines a card given to her by Bill Teschek at her retirement party last week. The card had been an entry in the Lane Memorial Library’s card catalogue that Farrell herself had typed in the late 60’s. Farrell recently retired from volunteering at the library after more than thirty years of dedicated service. Seated with her is her great-granddaughter Isabella Gallant.
[All photos courtesy Atlantic News, taken by Ian Nadeau]

HAMPTON -- The Lane Memorial Library bid a fond farewell to one of their most valuable resources last week.

After more than thirty years of selfless and tireless service to the public library, Arlene Farrell of Hampton officially retired from active volunteering duties last week.

“She has been a treasure, said Library Director Catherine Redden. In all of Farrell's years with the library, Redden says she always went “above and beyond” the call of duty.

Farrell has been a library mainstay for so many years that no one could pinpoint the exact year she started with any degree of certainty.

Redden opens the ceremonies Director Catherine Redden (center)
introduces Arlene Farrell
(right, with great-granddaughter)
while Selectman Chair William
"Skip" Sullivan looks on.
“You don’t get many people nowadays who volunteer for that long,” Redden said.

On Wednesday, January 9, friends, family, library trustees, co-workers and local officials honored the esteemed volunteer at an informal celebration held in the New Hampshire Boom of the library.

“I was amazed," Farrell said. “I didn’t expect that kind of thing at all.”

She was joined by her great-grandchildren Lincoln and Isabella Gallant [view photo] as she received accolades and gifts from a wide variety of sources.

Assistant Director and Head of Technical Services for the library Bill Teschek was the first to present the guest of honor with a gift, when he gave Farrell a typed card catalogue entry. In all probability, the card had been typed by Farrell herself who single-handedly upgraded the library’s catalogue from handwritten to typed entries during that time period.

Teschek had to do some serious digging to find a card that old since the library has long since done away with the old card catalogue system in favor of faster, more efficient computers. Teschek was followed by Selectmen Chairman

Sullivan presents proclamation
Sullivan presents proclamation
William “Skip” Sullivan who read a proclamation from the board thanking Farrell for her dedication to the library. After presenting Farrell with the official document, Sullivan joked about the rarity of a document that contained the signature of every member of the board. McConnell reads proclamation
McConnell reads proclamation
Hampton resident Jerry McConnell read a proclamation from the State House of Representatives, Redden then read another from Governor Jeanne Shaheen. Redden says the State Senate also issued a proclamation but it did not reach the library in time for the celebration.

Library Trustee Judith Geller also presented Farrell with a framed photograph of the library from years ago [view photo].

“That’s an old one; it shows the entrance from Winnacunnet Road,” Farrell says.

Redden says that awarding retirees with the picture is something of a tradition at the library. The photo comes from a very old postcard that they took to a copy center and made into color copies.

“I thought it went very well,” Redden said. “I was pleased with the turnout for her.”

After the bestowing of gifts guests stayed to talk and reminisce with friends and neighbors, while enjoying the generous selection of snacks and drinks supplied by the library staff.

Farrell has been involved with libraries for the vast majority of her life. The relationship began when she was a child and her mother worked as a librarian in Amherst. “So you know who had to put all the books away?” she jokes.

When she lived in Dover, Farrell paid the bills working for the library at the University of New Hampshire

More than a quarter of a century ago, Farrell and her husband [Lloyd] relocated to Hampton. Since that time she has been the model librarian for this town.

Redden says Farrell was always eager to take on new projects and cover shifts for other employees. She was responsible for the volunteer shelving and strove to make sure the place always looked it’s very best, whether by putting away loose books or cleaning graffiti off the walls.

Even now, she is looking to lend a helping hand wherever she can. “I am wondering if I can’t put in a little time here and there to help them get caught up,” she says.

Director Redden pins corsage on Arlene Farrell
Library Director Catherine Redden pins a corsage on the honored guest soon after her arrival
Arlene speaks with her daughter
Arlene speaks with her daughter before the ceremonies begin
Arlene and her great grand-daughter Isabella Gallant
Arlene and her great grand-daughter Isabella Gallant
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