Paulina Honored for her Service

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There were no computers when Paulina Freeburg started as the director of the Plummer Public Library.

If one wanted to find a book, she said, they would have to use the card catalogue, an item that has become obsolete and is relatively unknown to younger generations.

“You would have to open a drawer, and go through the index cards,” Ms. Freeburg said.

Paulina Freeburg was recognized for 30 years of service by the city of Plummer. She is the library director for the Plummer Public Library. She said though she's seen many changes, the passion she has for her work has remained.

Paulina Freeburg was recognized for 30 years of service by the city of Plummer. She is the library director for the Plummer Public Library. She said though she’s seen many changes, the passion she has for her work has remained.

There have been many changes in Ms. Freeburg’s tenure as the library director. One thing that has not changed is the passion she has for her work.

Ms. Freeburg was honored by the city of Plummer last month for 30 years of service. She was first hired as the library director for the Plummer Public Library in 1984.

Originally from southern Idaho, Ms. Freeburg first moved to the area as a teenager with her parents. Her husband, Mike, was born and raised in the area. Though they moved around early in their marriage, they moved back to the Plummer area in 1977 and have lived there since.

Ms. Freeburg had worked for the school district in the office when the opportunity to apply for the position at the Plummer Public Library became available. She said the position was ideal because it was part-time and would allow her to be at home more to raise her two children.

“I had the clerical and bookkeeping experience for the job and I had some on the job training and took some courses at the University of Idaho after I was hired,” she said. “It has been a blessing to be able to live and work in the same area. I don’t have to commute.”

During her 30-year tenure as the library director, Ms. Freeburg said the highlight was being able to achieve building the new space for the library.

“It was a grassroots effort to raise the funds,” she said. “It took us 10 years to reach our goal, but we did it.”

Ms. Freeburg said the prior building that housed the library was crowded and outdated when the project to fund a new building started in 2000. She said the Friends of the Library did so many different fundraisers.

“The biggest was an auction and dinner out at the casino,” she said. “But there were lots and lots of bake sales.”

The final key pieces of funding came in the form of a grant and a bond. The new building is three times larger than its predecessor, Ms. Freeburg said. It allows more room for people to sit, provides spaces for patrons to read and study.

“Our old building didn’t even have a public restroom,” Ms. Freeburg recalled.

Computers have come to play a bigger role at the library as well, she added. The checkout system is automated now and computers are readily available to be used by patrons. Movies and eBooks are also some of the items the public may now access at the library.

Still, Ms. Freeburg said books remain popular. In some of the latest numbers, only 75 eBooks were checked out compared to more than 1,000 books, she said.

“People always want to get the latest best seller,” Ms. Freeburg said. “I think public libraries are a vital part of any community. We get a lot of compliments from visitors who come to the area about our library.”

Ms. Freeburg said she has always had the opportunity to work with great people who are appointed to sit on the library board. Current board members are Chris Smith, Debra Church, Julie Miller, Delores Johnston and Judy Perkins.

“All the boards I’ve worked with have always been very supportive,” she said. “The city has always appointed qualified people.”

She said a former longtime board member, the late Bess Meagher, was always especially encouraging.

“She was on the board for 20 years,” Ms. Freeburg said. “Whenever something would go wrong, she’d tell me not to worry about it. She was always very encouraging.”

Ms. Freeburg said her assistant, Cindy Urbat, has worked at the library for 10 years, handling all new materials that come into the library and has also been instrumental.

“I appreciate her skills and dependability,” Ms. Freeburg said.

Interacting with the community is always something Ms. Freeburg enjoys as well as helping people find what they are seeking.

“It’s been very rewarding to see those children as young adults bringing their own children to the library as they instill a love of reading in the next generation,” she added.

Ms. Freeburg said she has no plans to retire.

“I hope to be here at least another five years,” she said. “I was extremely honored the city recognized me for the service.”

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