Retiring librarian Carol Dinges leaving with fond memories

Carol Dinges is getting ready to stand on the other side of the counter at the Lebanon Public Library at the end of June.

“One of my last acts, on my last day of work, will be to give up my staff card and get my card as a private citizen,” Dinges said. “Since I live outside the city limits, I am going to have to pay the non-resident fee but I’m happy to do that because I use it all the time.”

The city librarian usually has two or three things checked out on Library2Go and another one or two books checked out.

Dinges started in her position as library director in 2012. Before that, she was part of the Lebanon Community School District since 1981 as a teacher and then as the Lebanon High School Librarian.

She still appreciates her ties to the school district and counts the library’s community outreach as one of the most satisfying parts of her job.

“One of the really neat ones is working with Diane Lamb, who teaches the teen parent class at the high school,” Dinges said.

In collaboration with Darcy Smith, children’s librarian, and Lamb, they put together a story time twice a month, just for teen parents, before the library opens.

“What we found was that talking to them, providing materials, books for them to read to their kids, didn’t work,” Dinges said. Some of the young parents had not been read to when they were children and some were not familiar with going to the library.

“People are intimidated to try something they are completely unfamiliar with and also we knew the teen parents were kind of intimidated by the older more established parents who brought their children to story time,” Dinges said.

She said they’ve gotten positive feedback from Lamb and the parents.

“Darcy is very enthusiastic,” Dinges said. “So many of those teen parents now regularly bring their kids in. That one feels really good.”

Problem solving is another aspect of her job that she has found satisfying.

An issue they faced early on in her time at the library, was faulty security devices in the materials – false alarms would sound as patrons walked out.

That one was solved with “pathological tenacity,” she said. “I think that technology and streamlining procedures and so forth has been important and that’s an ongoing thing. It never changes because systems change.”

Dinges will also miss the library staff and volunteers.

“I have a wonderful staff; you could not ask for a more dedicated, nicer, a better group of people to work with,” Dinges said. The library also has about 40 active volunteers, she said, many of them former school district colleagues.

As for her retirement, Dinges said she is looking forward to having time.

“I think that’s the one thing that bothers me most is that I don’t have time to do things I really enjoy doing,” Dinges said. “For example, the morning is the best time to go out and water and things like that and I have to rush through everything so I can get to work. Now I’ll  have time to take my time and enjoy it.”

She and her husband John Dinges enjoy traveling and have a couple of trips planned.

One is a road trip that is roughly the same they took on their honeymoon 34 years ago through eastern Oregon, Idaho and Montana to Glacier National Park then up to Canada.

There is not much else on her agenda.

“Everyone asks what my plans are, you know, I really don’t have any,” Dinges said. “I’m approaching it kind of the same way I’ve approached other major changes, which is just expecting things will be different and I’ll just discover how they’ll be different.”