Bryan retires as Geneva librarian after 20 years

Authored by Jim Langham on May 27, 2014

A combination of various health problems has forced popular Geneva Public Library librarian Rose Bryan to retire from her position after 20 years of service. Bryan said that she loves what she does and regrets deeply that she is in a position of retirement.
“This is very difficult,” said Bryan, with emotion. “I love what I do here and I love the people. It is very hard for me to do this.”
Bryan will never forget the day that she received a phone call from Sara Briggs, asking her if she would be interested in serving as the librarian for Geneva. The position had opened up when librarian Vena Simmons had retired.
“Her (Simmons) family had run this library for 35 years,” said Bryan. “Her aunt, Rachel Filer, was the second librarian.
“The door opened for me to be able to come here and I took it,” added Bryan. “I started work here in 1993.”
Prior to accepting the Geneva position, Bryan had worked in various library capacities at South Adams Schools for 23 years.
“I worked at all school libraries and moved them all,” said Bryan.
Early on, Bryan worked with Geraldine Linder and Lois Lehman at the school library system.
“I started working for her (Lehman) when she was serving the high school,” said Bryan. “I went across the street; the library processing was upstairs. The superintendent’s office was in that building as well.”
The building that Bryan is referring to is now the residence of Deryll and Bonnie Zurcher on West Main Street.
Bryan then worked for the school system until 1993 when she transitioned to the Geneva Library, where she was officially hired as director in 1994.
Shortly after, Bryan’s life grew from busy to busier. She drove back and forth to Fort Wayne to attend IPFW where she eventually received a bachelor of arts degree in English certification to teach. In addition, she was loaded with family responsibilities at home.
By the time Bryan took over in Geneva, the library had relocated from the original small building uptown to its current location just a block to the west. Over the years, several businesses had been located in the building including International Organization of Odd Fellows, a skating rink, funeral home and farm machinery store.
Bryan said that one of the aspects of being a librarian that she has enjoyed the most is the diversity of the guidance demanded in addressing the reading needs of those who visit the library.
“When you work in the library, you deal with different ages, reading abilities, backgrounds or different interests,” said Bryan.
“You can’t tell somebody what they can or can’t read,” continued Bryan. “Whether I like it or not, everyone has the right to freedom of expression. Everyone has the right to have the freedom to read what they want to.”
Bryan said that she has addressed people coming into the library that are happy, moody and even under the influence of alcohol.
“I remember when one fellow came in who had just received his divorce papers. He said, ‘now what do I go home and fix for supper,’” said Bryan.
“People come hurting and in tears, looking for something to read that will help them,” continued Bryan. “There is a reasonable confidentiality that I am bound to keep.”
During her time of service in Geneva, Bryan was also involved with the county literary council and various other committees. She has enjoyed seeing the library broaden its outreach over the years.
“As far as technology goes, we are pretty well good to go; we have wireless and the computers are all touch-screen,” noted Bryan.
“I plan to continue to volunteer and help as my health allows,” added Bryan.
A reception will be held in Bryan’s honor at the Geneva Public Library on May 30 from 3 -5 p.m.

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