For Josephine Yu, her voluntary role as librarian for The Barrington of Carmel retirement community is a natural fit. She is, after all, a retired librarian with a master’s degree in library science.
Beyond that, she still has a passion for the profession and embraces every aspect of what she does at The Barrington – including sharing Chinese culture with residents.
Born in Shanghai, China, Yu grew up in Taiwan as a young girl before moving to the United States in the 1950s.
“When I was a school librarian, I loved to read and recommend quality books to students and teach them library skills,” said Yu, who has lived at The Barrington for 6 1/2 years. “I also enjoyed putting up special displays and planning projects and inviting guest speakers to share with students. I had the opportunity to share my culture with social studies classes and demonstrate Chinese cooking to home economics classes.
“Here at The Barrington, I was able to share my culture again.”
Yu moved to the U.S. in 1955 to attend the University of Illinois on an academic scholarship. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in library science and, to her pleasant surprise, had seven job offers from libraries from across the United States immediately after college.
Yu accepted an offer from the Chicago Public Library and has been part of the profession ever since. Her most recent job before retiring was at Belzer Middle School in Indianapolis, where she was the librarian for about 20 years – serving longer than two of the school’s principals.
Yu, who has three adult children and had what she calls “two successful marriages” (both spouses are deceased and are “in heaven with the Lord”), eventually moved to Fishers after retiring. When she moved to The Barrington, she immediately volunteered to run the library and has filled the role ever since.
“We have a very generous book-lending policy with no overdue charge,” Yu said. “One can read as much as one wants to. We are thankful for all the books donated from residents and their families. We also have a separate paperback book library at the plaza, and recently DVDs have become available for rental in the theater room.”
Perhaps best of all for Yu, her librarian role gives her the opportunity to continue sharing her Chinese heritage and culture.
“On Feb. 12, a special display was set up to celebrate the Chinese lunar New Year,” Yu said. “We had numerous artifacts, calligraphy and artwork. The residents appreciated and enjoyed this exhibition.”
Yu, who prefers not to state her age, embraces this chapter of her life at The Barrington and has no plans to stop administering the library.
“I lost track (of my age),” Yu joked. “However, growing old is definitely a big challenge. With faith and trust in God and a positive attitude, it can be a blessing to others and the continuing fulfillment of life.”