Celebrating the story of librarian Ann Honchell
Garfield Public Libraries
Libraries are full of stories. And librarians have got plenty of stories as well.
New Castle Branch Manager Ann Honchell talks fondly of New Castle, and all the people she’s come to know over the last few decades. “It’s the first place I’ve ever worked that I saw a goat in a tutu!” she said while chuckling and showing a library photo album. Sure enough, she’s even got a picture of that goat from one of the Burning Mountain Days parades.
Honchell started her library career as branch manager at the Westminster Branch of the London Public Library in London, Ontario, in Canada in 1981. After a decade, she and her husband moved to Colorado, and she began working at the Glenwood Springs Branch Library. She soon became assistant branch manager in New Castle. But in 1997, she moved to Wisconsin with her husband. “The Wisconsin winters proved too much for this Canadian girl,” she said about moving back to Garfield County in 2004. She again began in Glenwood Springs before ending up as the branch manager in New Castle in 2006.
Over the years, Honchell has been a part of many efforts to help in the community. She has served on the Rifle Animal Shelter board, and put together a team for Literacy Outreach’s Spellebration event every year she’s been here. “We have never won the first prize, but we have had a lot of fun in the process of raising money for a good cause.”
It’s clear that Honchell’s dedication over the years has strengthened the community. Pat Conway, recently retired branch manager of the Glenwood Springs Library, said of Honchell, “I have always especially appreciated the way she can strike up a conversation with any customer and ensure they feel welcome in the library. She loves to chat about books and recommend a good read. She cares about people, so she takes time to talk with them and share a good laugh where appropriate.”
Honchell described the pinnacle of her career as the time when a longtime library patron came up to her at a library concert and told Honchell that her daughter became a librarian because of Honchell’s example. “I really love my job,” said Honchell. “It’s the human connection.”
On Friday, Honchell will be retiring from the library to return to her native Canada. There she will be closer to her family. “It’s going home for me,” said Honchell. “I’m excited about getting my hands on my grandson.” But when asked if she will be able to stay retired in Canada, Honchell responded, “I love libraries so much that I can’t picture it not being a part of my life.”
A reception in Honchell’s honor will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, at the New Castle Branch Library. Refreshments will be served and the public is welcome to attend. Please join us to celebrate the career of this dedicated and fun librarian.
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