Librarian Linda Clay retires after nearly 32 years

Beloved Youth Services Librarian Linda Clay retires after nearly 32 years at Lawrence Public Library

by Kayla Cook, Media Relations & Communications Specialist

At Lawrence Public Library, the ringing of the bell signaled one of the most treasured storytimes: Library Storytime with Ms. Linda. From puppets to songs and dances to stories told with felt, the storytime materials at the library are fun and bright, but Ms. Linda with her warm spirit and ever-present smile could make storytime that much more fun, that much more bright.

“Thank you, Lawrence community, for all the love.” - Ms. Linda

Although now known as the epitome of the word “storyteller,”, opens a new window Ms. Linda initially didn’t lead storytimes. When she started in the Youth Services department in 1992 she worked the desk and didn’t do stories for the first 2 or 3 years. Soon enough, however, she was given the opportunity to lead a storytime and discovered her knack for the activity, developing crafts to pair with some of her favorite stories. “Doing crafts that reinforce the storytime gives the kids something they can look back on and maybe retell the story with,” Ms. Linda shared. “Crafts are always good for kids to help them learn.”


Library Q&A with Ms. Linda

What was your favorite part about working at the library over the years?

Working with all the families and seeing the children grow because now kids are bringing their kids which is a great testament to the library. Watching the kids become really good readers and instilling a love of the library and books–and the staff, of course… Just being at the library! To be a part of it, I’m so honored.


What is one of your favorite books to read for storytime?

The Rainbow Fish and Harry the Dirty Dog–those old ones, you know! Move Over, Rover… There’s so many!

Lawrence Picks: Ms. Linda's Favorite Books

List created by LPL_KaylaC

This list features a few of our beloved Ms. Linda's favorite books to read at Library Storytime.

View Full List

In what way(s) has working at the library impacted your life?

Oh my, it’s enriched my life so much! I’ve been so blessed. With all the kids and the families–it’s made my life so rich and warm and loving. I’ve just loved working here. It’s been such a blessing.

It’s brought me so much joy and happiness, and it was so nice–I really appreciate the library working around when my kids were growing up so I could work and go home when they were out of school and be with them and do their activities. That was so nice of Mrs. Paretsky to let me do that.

What advice would you give a young librarian?

I guess I would say pick books you love if you’re doing storytime and that way that love can flow over to the children. You want to keep them engaged by doing puppets or flannels. You need to keep them engaged. When a child is curious and engaged, it helps them learn. The total goal is to instill in them a love of books and a love of reading and learning.

Anything else to share about your experience working at Lawrence Public Library?

Just that I’ve loved it. I’ve loved it so much. And, frankly, I hate to retire, but I guess a person has to retire. But I just loved it. I love the library. I’ll come to the library as a patron. I’ll bring my granddaughter to the library–but she has to be born first! (Laughs.)

Watch Ms. Linda's Last Storytime here, opens a new window on the Library's YouTube Channel.

View photos of Ms. Linda's Last Storytime here, opens a new window.

About Lawrence Public Library
Lawrence Public Library (LPL for short) is a community hub that believes in the power of connecting with each other through shared knowledge and resources. Located in the heart of Downtown Lawrence, Kansas, we are committed to providing a space where our community can learn, connect, create, and grow through access to our vast collections, resources, services, programs, and knowledgeable staff. The library is supported by tax dollars, record-breaking book sales and philanthropic efforts by the LPL Friends & Foundation, and the dedicated efforts of more than 300 volunteers. All are welcome.



Youth Services at Lawrence Public Library