MONTICELLO — Already down a youth librarian, the Allerton Public Library will lose its longtime director this summer.
Director Lisa Winters — who has worked at the library for 42 years — has informed the board that her last official day will be Aug. 31.
“It’s time,” Winters said, noting she had pondered the move a year ago but stayed an extra year to get the library through the coronavirus pandemic.
Her retirement ends a run that began in 1979 as a “page,” putting books back on the shelves while still in high school. She held various other titles before being named library director in 1998.
Winters said she actually maxed out on the amount of retirement income she could receive about two years ago but until now had difficulty making the decision to leave.
But the library director feels the facility is in a good spot, with a new building constructed in 2016 and the pandemic hopefully winding down. Her end date will also allow her to get 2020-21 annual reports and paperwork complete in addition to getting the library through the busy summer season.
She also promised to have the budget and appropriations ordinances ready to go for the September board meeting and added that the library has upgraded to all new equipment since the move to its new location five years ago.
“Everything on my list is checked off,” Winters said. “If I do this, it’s pretty smooth sailing for the first six months. Everything will pretty much be done.”
And though she said it is time to retire, board member Beth Manuel admitted, “I’m not ready for you to go.”
She also joked about the timing of Winters’ announcement, which came a day after Manuel was elected to another term.
“Lisa, you could have told me this before you put my name back on the ballot for another, what, six years,” Manuel said.
Winters suggested a committee be formed to begin a search for her replacement. Board members Sue Gortner and Sue Lochbaum were appointed, with Winters also on the committee.
“This is a great time, though, for the library to get someone in here and bring new life to it,” Winters said.
Meanwhile, the library’s youth and programming services coordinator put in her last day on the job last week.
Cara Stoerger resigned to work for the nonprofit National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions in Champaign, where she will be the webmaster and technical specialist.
Stoerger has used that aptitude — she has a master’s degree in technology — at the library in maintaining its website, social media sites and mobile apps.