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The Retired Librarian

The retired librarian

Estimated reading time — 6 minutes

In the wake of negotiations with the teacher’s union, the school authorities reached the decision that perhaps it was time for Ms. Betty, the long-serving librarian, to hang up her hat and embrace retirement. Ms. Betty had been a steadfast presence at the school, showing up day in and day out without any notable mishaps for an impressive span of over 39 years. However, amidst the throes of a recession and a prevailing trend of downsizing, the school system opted to usher in technology as a replacement for her.

“She’s been here forever,” remarked one of the administrators, shaking his head. “It’s time for a change.”

“But she’s always been so dedicated,” another countered. “Surely we owe her something after all these years.”


“She’s like an ancient artifact,” they declared in a meeting room buzzing with discussions.

“Let’s encourage her to step aside gracefully. It’s time for a fresh face to bear the responsibilities.”

“She has dedicated countless years; let’s afford her the chance to relish the remaining chapters of her life.”

“Times are changing,” argued a third. “We need to adapt. Technology can do the job now.”

“It seems she’s lost touch with the younger generation.”

The director and principal entered the library, their expressions weighed down by the gravity of the conversation they were about to have. The director cleared his throat, his tone somber yet tinged with a glimmer of hope.


“Ms. Betty,” he began, his voice soft but determined, “we’ve all seen how much this library means to you. And we understand how deeply you care about it.”

Ms. Betty looked up from her desk, a mixture of surprise and apprehension flickering in her eyes. “Yes?” she prompted, her heart beginning to race with anticipation.

The director hesitated for a moment before continuing, “We’ve been thinking… would you consider taking it easy? Perhaps reconsider retirement?”

Ms. Betty’s eyes widened in disbelief, her pulse quickening at the unexpected turn of events. “Are you serious?” she breathed, hardly daring to believe what she was hearing.

The principal stepped forward, his expression earnest as he added, “We know how much you mean to this school, Ms. Betty. There’s simply no replacing you.”

A surge of emotion welled up within her as she grappled with the sudden reversal of fate. Leaving had seemed inevitable, but now there was a glimmer of hope, a chance to continue the work she loved.

“I… I don’t know what to say,” she murmured, her voice choked with emotion. “This library has been my life.”

The director nodded, his own voice tinged with regret. “We’ll miss you terribly if you go, Ms. Betty. There’s no one quite like you.”

The principal nodded in agreement. “In fact, we’ve already arranged a special celebration for you on Friday, after the last day of school. A chance for everyone to show their appreciation.”

Tears welled up in Ms. Betty’s eyes as the weight of their words sank in.


The retirement party in the library was a subdued affair, attended by all the teachers, though their hearts weren’t fully in it. Balloons bobbed lazily in the air, and the librarian’s desk was adorned with an array of gifts, from flowers to cake to presents, all arranged with a forced cheerfulness that couldn’t quite mask the underlying apathy.

“Congratulations on your retirement,” one teacher murmured, their words lacking the sincerity that usually accompanied such well-wishes.

Ms. Betty nodded graciously, recognizing the effort despite the lack of genuine sentiment. “Thank you,” she replied, her voice tinged with a hint of sadness.

Throughout the party, teachers took turns offering polite remarks, bidding farewell with rehearsed phrases, and reminiscing about moments shared in the past.

“You’ll be missed,” another teacher mumbled, their eyes scanning the room as if searching for an escape.

“And you were always so passionate about your job and the kids,” added another, their tone flat and devoid of emotion.

Despite the lackluster atmosphere, Ms. Betty smiled warmly, her genuine love for her work shining through the façade of indifference. “I’ll miss them too,” she admitted, her voice tinged with nostalgia.

As the school year drew to a close, Ms. Betty received her retirement certificate, a token acknowledgment of her years of service. The reasons given for her retirement were the usual suspects: budget cuts, the influx of younger teachers, and the ever-advancing march of technology. Forced into retirement and thrust out into the uncertain world beyond the school walls, Ms. Betty found herself at a crossroads, uncertain of what the future held. Yet amidst the upheaval and uncertainty, there was a glimmer of anticipation for the new chapter ahead. Though not quite ready to embrace retirement fully, Ms. Betty found solace in the prospect of exploring new possibilities and embarking on a journey of self-discovery

As the days stretched into weeks and the weeks into months, Ms. Betty found herself growing restless in her newfound retirement. The once bustling halls of the school were now silent, her friends and colleagues dispersed to their own lives, leaving her alone with her thoughts and memories. Sitting in her quiet house, surrounded by the echoes of her past, Ms. Betty found solace in the company of books. They became her constant companions, transporting her to far-off lands and filling the empty hours with stories and adventures. But even the most captivating tales couldn’t fill the void left by the absence of human connection. By the time two months had passed since her retirement, Ms. Betty knew she needed a change. She couldn’t bear the loneliness any longer, couldn’t stand the emptiness of her once vibrant life. And so, with determination and a newfound sense of purpose, she set out to make a difference.


Drawing on her years of experience as a librarian, Ms. Betty decided to open her home to the children in her neighborhood. With a fervor she hadn’t felt in years, she transformed the neglected top floor of her house into a cozy, inviting library. Every spare moment was spent arranging chairs, tables, and shelves, adorning the walls with colorful posters, and stocking the shelves with books of every genre imaginable. It was a labor of love, a testament to her passion for education and her unwavering belief in the power of books to inspire and uplift. And as she put the finishing touches on her new sanctuary, Ms. Betty felt a sense of satisfaction and joy that she hadn’t experienced in far too long.

The librarian’s foray into creating a haven for children in her home was a natural extension of her boundless imagination and storytelling prowess. Known for her captivating narratives that could enchant even the most unruly of children, she possessed a rare gift for spinning tales that transported listeners to worlds both fantastical and familiar. With a repertoire that spanned the spectrum of genres, from pulse-pounding action to tender romance and spine-chilling horror, the librarian had a story for every occasion. Her tales held a power beyond mere entertainment; they had the ability to soothe troubled minds, ignite imaginations, and instill a love of storytelling in all who listened.

Whether recounting daring adventures of heroes and heroines, weaving intricate webs of forbidden love, or delving into the darkest corners of the human psyche with her macabre tales of horror, the librarian’s storytelling prowess was unparalleled. Her words held listeners spellbound, their eyes fixed unwaveringly on her as she wove her magic from behind the lectern. But it wasn’t just her storytelling skills that set the librarian apart; it was her uncanny ability to turn even the most mundane of subjects into captivating narratives. Give her a prompt, and she would transform it into a masterpiece, infusing it with depth, emotion, and intrigue.

In her library, surrounded by eager young minds, the librarian found her greatest joy. The children, with their impeccable posture and unwavering attention, were a testament to the power of her stories and the bond they shared. And as she looked out at her audience, she couldn’t help but swell with pride at the thought of the impact she was having on their lives. For the librarian, storytelling was more than just a passion; it was her calling, her purpose. And in the eyes of her devoted students, she found affirmation that she was exactly where she was meant to be.

Ms. Betty, having transformed her top floor into a haven for book lovers, took pride in creating an exclusive library for those who shared her passion for stories. With meticulous care, she crafted an environment that beckoned to future Bibliophiles, ensuring that every detail, from the arrangement of books to the comfortable seating, was designed to captivate and inspire. In her dedication to maintaining the sanctity of her literary paradise, Ms. Betty decided to limit access to only those children who genuinely loved books. Her library became a haven for the true enthusiasts, a place where the magic of storytelling could be shared among kindred spirits.

As the days unfolded, Ms. Betty noticed a young soul named John, a bright and clever youngster who seemed to have an insatiable appetite for reading. Recognizing the spark of a potential bibliophile in him, Ms. Betty decided to extend an invitation, allowing John to join the exclusive library group. John, with his constant immersion in books and evident love for stories, proved to be a promising addition to the library community.

“Welcome to the library, John! These kids will be your peers for a while. I am confident you will make friends easily with them.” She said as she nailed his bloody, battered, lifeless body to the chair. “This is grand. Perhaps I should open up an adult section of the library, too?”

Credit: Rodney Hatfield Jr.


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