Prendergast Library Staff Member Marks 38 Years

Karen Golden has been employed by the James Prendergast Library for more than 38 years, and by all accounts is loved by the library’s community of users and supporters. Moreover, Golden is highly valued and respected by the entire library staff. P-J photo by Christopher Blakeslee

Libraries by their very nature are purveyors of books, periodicals, music, internet service and knowledge sharing.

Long gone are the days where libraries just lone out books for free, and where one would go to write a term paper for school in peace and quiet. However, you can still do these things, but the libraries offer so much more, and librarians and library staff members are here to serve the community. One such staff member, Karen Golden, has been a mainstay not only for the library, but to all those she encounters. Employed at the library for more than 38 years, she’s seen just about everything one can see working in a public library, and really loves what she does.

“I love the people I work with -staff and library users,” Golden said. “We’re a family here and I’ve made many friendships over the years.”

Additionally, after 38 years of service, Golden has seen her fair share of changes as the library has evolved to meet the community’s ever changing needs.

“When I started here, we had no computers, we used microfilm and Kodak cameras,” added Golden. “Everything was paper. Check-in and check-out book cards, the catalog system and schedules. Now, everything is digitized and on computers.”

Along with the technological changes in the way the library operates, Golden has also witnessed a phenomenal boom in the amount of programming the library currently offers.

“We now offer Teen Movie Nights, crafts, Fun Days at the Library, story time, and many more programs here,” Golden said. “When I first started all we offered was the loaning out of books and VHS tapes.”

While Golden appears proud of how the library has reinvented itself to meet the community’s needs, she’s just as quick to point out all the other service agencies who’ve partnered with and supported the Prendergast Library over the years.

“The library is like a center point in the community,” Golden said. “The YMCA provides lunches here during the summer months for kids, the food truck comes by to provide fresh fruit and vegetables for sale, The St. Bonaventure artmobile is here during the summer too, plus we host several community-themed, events throughout the year with several non-profits setting up table displays and providing services.”

No matter how much Golden tries to deflect the praises she receives and places it back onto the library, she can’t deny the powerful impact she’s had on library patrons, staff members and library executive leadership over her many years of service.

“Karen is an amazing colleague who is very dedicated to the library and serving our community. She always displays a positive attitude and consistently gives top-notch customer service to all of our patrons as well as to her co-workers,” said Anne Greene, executive director of the James Prendergast Library Association.

“She has worked at the library for over 35 years and her library experience is invaluable to our entire library team. She is a wonderful role model — we are very fortunate to have her on staff.”

Also, adding to the heaps of praises Golden has already received, one elderly Library Patron added.

“She is always smiling and ready to help anyone,” said Juan Perez, 57, a resident of Jamestown and library user. “My English isn’t that good, and she is very patient with me. She helped me on the computer.”


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