By Noah Alatza
Longtime Westfield Washington Public Library Children’s Services Manager Vicki Parker will retire after 35 years with the library.
The Westfield resident said when she first came to the building decades ago, she noticed an empty desk in the children’s section.
“My daughter was in preschool at the time, and I asked if they had a part-time job, and they said, ‘Well, maybe,’” Parker said. “(WWPL) offered me 10 cents under minimum wage, which was $3.10 an hour at the time, 35 years ago.”
That one empty desk started a lifetime of work at the library for Parker, who said she began working at the desk for five years before the children’s librarian position was created.
Parker has led countless story times, special events, summer reading programs and other activities.
“I believe in what libraries can do for children,” she said. “It can empower them, they can do independent learning and it feeds into education, and that makes lifetime readers and it enriches people’s lives.”
Parker said now seemed like the right time to move on with her life. She said she will definitely miss working with the children.
“Every child is an individual, and I respect that and I think it’s important to respect their rights to be human beings,” she said. “I have never done this to get any attention. I do it because it’s a good thing to do and I love doing it. If I changed the life of one child, it will be worth it.”