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EXCHANGE: Bonnie Estrada looks back fondly on library job


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ROCKTON, Ill. (AP) — As summer comes to a close, Bonnie Estrada is preparing to leave the job she was "lucky to have fallen into" 41 years ago.

The 72-year-old will retire as director of the Talcott Free Library District in Rockton, where she has worked since 1974. She's been the director since 1986.

Estrada got involved in library programming through the Hononegah Woman's Club, whose members helped with Talcott's children's story hour. From there, she started working more regularly at Talcott, shelving books and helping patrons check out items. About 12 years later, Estrada, who has a background in teaching special education, took over as director.

"I'm very lucky that we've had a wonderful relationship with the (library) board and with the community," she said. "That's been the best part."

Estrada said improvements in technology have changed Talcott more than anything.

"With the advent of computers, obviously, you can access the databases. Before, it was just a card catalogues and you were a stand-alone-type thing. You worked with other libraries, but you didn't have the ability to see what they had, and getting the materials here — it was just a much more convoluted route to do. Right now, we can go online and get things for people much easier and quicker."

Estrada is excited for the future of Talcott but thinks it's time to let the younger generation take the reins.

"I've been here for 41 years. I thought maybe I (should) retire before either my husband gets sick or I get sick, where you don't have a choice."

Estrada will be succeeded by Megan Goves, 30, who's worked at Talcott for two years. She has a master's degree in library and information services from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has worked in libraries since 2003.

Goves is eager to dive into her new job but says she has a lot to learn before she can think about making her own mark on Talcott. Estrada will spend August helping her learn the ropes.

"I'm really looking forward to it," Goves said. "It's my dream job, basically."

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Source: Rockford Register Star, http://bit.ly/1DZs4ee

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Information from: Rockford Register Star, http://www.rrstar.com

This is an AP-Illinois Exchange story offered by the Rockford Register Star.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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