Children’s librarian Becky Nelson has shared books with a couple of generations of Salida’s children and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.
She started working at Salida Regional Library 30 years ago after her sister-in-law had to quit because she was moving.
The library director at the time, Norma Edlund, asked if Nelson might be interested in the job.
Nelson, who had grown up in Salida, had a 3-year-old son at the time and started working at the library part time doing interlibrary loans.
After a year she started working in the children’s section and has been there ever since.
Story time is her favorite part of the job. “I enjoy the smiles,” she said.
Over the years she has taken classes in early childhood education but also works with older elementary school and middle school age children.
When Nelson started, the library was entirely in the old Carnegie building. When the library addition was built in the late 1990s, she moved to the children’s room. Next year with the completion of the new addition she will once again move to a new, larger children’s room.
Nelson said she’s seen a lot of changes over the years, the biggest one being the introduction of new technology and the shift from the old card catalogue system to computers.
She said she enjoys working with the kids and watching them grow and blossom from birth to adults.
Many of the kids she started reading to during story time when she first started are now bringing their own children to story time at the library.
Nelson said she has a love of books, especially kids’ books. She chooses the books that go into the children’s library, although she takes recommendations from library users.
She said she sometimes has parents come in and describe a book they enjoyed as a child that they’d like to share with their children. Sometimes they remember the title, but sometimes they remember what color it was or what it was about, and Nelson has a challenge figuring out what book they want.
She said the classics are still popular, especially favorite chapter books that parents want to read aloud to their youngsters.
The “Little House” books, “Charlotte’s Web” and “Heidi” are examples of popular choices.
Nelson shows no signs of moving on. She said she’d like to keep working another seven or eight years at least.
“It doesn’t seem like 30 years,” she said. “I’ve always enjoyed the job.”
A reception to celebrate Nelson’s 30 years at the library will take place from 4-5:30 p.m. Wednesday. The public is invited.