Magazine article American Libraries

Still on the Job and on the Road at 83

Magazine article American Libraries

Still on the Job and on the Road at 83

Article excerpt

Rose Mary Malone, at the age of 83, is the oldest salaried employee in Casper, Wyo., a town of 50,00 people. It's also possible that she is one of the oldest working librarians in the country. She retired from her high school library position in 1967 and since then has worked as a professional librarian at Goodstein Foundation Library at Casper College.

Malone's contract calls for 28 hours per month, but she usually works more. She is a fully contributing staff member participating in special library or college activities, attending conferences, and making her famous peanut butter cookies for National Library Week and Women's History Week receptions. She follows the college basketball team with enthusiasm and attends most home games.

Her expertise in the bibliography and history of Wyoming is widely known and respected. She has been primarily responsible for developing the library's special collection of Western Americana containing more than 4,000 titles as well as maps and extensive clipping files. Recently she was assigned an assistant. Though the assistant is less than half Malone's age, she good-naturedly complains about being exhausted after receiving her week's "marching orders" from Malone. The library director recently wrote a letter to the college president asking that Malone be retained on the staff even though she is past the age of retirement because her expertise makes her "virtually irreplaceable."

A community college cannot afford to support a special collection for an elite audience. The Western Americana collection and Malone's expertise are available to and used by members of the community doing research as well as college students and faculty. Malone recently received a special projects award from the Wyoming Library Association for her work gathering historical material in conjunction with an archaeological dig at an Oregon Trail river crossing, now the site of a military cemetery. She is also named in the introduction to several recent books on local history.

As a teacher, and later principal, in the small town of Douglas, Wyo., beginning in 1929, Malone learned her history from the people who made it. …

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