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Nashua Children’s Librarian retires after 43 years

NASHUA — Nashua Public Library Children’s Services Supervisor Kathy Bolton is turning a new page in her life, as she retires after 43 years of instilling a love of reading in the community.

Bolton walked through the library’s doors on Sept. 15, 1976 and never looked back. She began as a library assistant in the library’s Children’s Department and served in the role for three years. In 1979, she was promoted to assistant supervisor.

At the time, she was working on completing her bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Rivier University. She also had plans of getting a master’s degree in library science.

Bolton was able to earn her master’s degree while working full-time at the library. Once she received her degree, she officially began her job as the supervisor of children’s services, a role she ends today.

During the Tuesday Nashua Board of Aldermen meeting, Mayor Jim Donchess and board members recognized Bolton for her years of service to the community.

She was commended for expanding the children’s programming at the library to include birth through elementary, in addition to introducing story time in multiple languages. She was also recognized for her efforts in making the library a family place library.

“She instilled a love of reading in many in the community,” Alderwoman Mary Ann Melizzi-Golja read in a statement on behalf of the board and mayor.

For Bolton, she always wanted to be a librarian.

“As I little girl, I used to play ‘school,’ but I also played ‘library,'” Bolton said. “I used to put cards in books and my friends would take them home.”

Playing library didn’t stop there. She spent all four years of high school volunteering in the library of Nashua High School. During her study hall periods, she would organize shelves and help with book checkouts.

Bolton originally thought she should be a school teacher because she knew she wanted to work with children. After an instructor encouraged her to apply for a job at the library, Bolton said she knew it would be a perfect fit.

Bolton has many fond memories from the last four decades.

“I remember back in the early 80s when we got our first Apple computer. It was a coin-operated Apple. People would give us 50 cents and we would give them tokens to put into the computer,” Bolton said.

She added, “Technology has changed incredibly. We were using typewriters to type up catalog cards. Once computers came on the scene, it was a whole different world.”

Bolton also saw many changes within the library itself, from staffing to building renovations to students.

“I’ve loved the different people that I’ve had a chance to work with. I’ve worked with some extraordinarily talented people,” Bolton said. “The people that work here are very giving. They’re here because they like to provide a service to the public and I really appreciate that.”

She added, “My staff has been great. I’ve had lots of people who have come and gone over the years and we’ve always had good relationships.”

Bolton also enjoyed the relationships she built with local families through the years.

“Meeting families really has been one of the best parts of this job,” Bolton said. “Meeting different people and their little ones, watching them grow and getting the right book into the right hands – it’s just magnificent.”

She added, “I’ve had a great time just knowing the community and visiting the school libraries and school classes. In 43 years, I have had a couple of generations. I’ve had kids come back with their kids.”

As she retires, Bolton has many different projects she’d like to pursue. “I’m looking forward to taking it slow, just seeing what I want to do. I think I would like to learn how to do cake decorating or floral arranging – just fun things,” Bolton said.

She also plans to spend time with her 8-week-old grandson.

Grace Pecci may be reached at 594-1243 or gpecci@nashuatelegraph.com.