Rita Crawford, Sewickley Public Library’s Head of Children’s Services, announced her retirement early this summer to be effective this fall.  She has been on staff since April 1, 1985. It’s hard to imagine what the library, especially the Children’s Department, will be like without Rita.  She has been at the helm of the department touching the lives of children for many of those years.

Rita’s Empire, as the Children’s Department was affectionately called during the 1998-1999 major construction and renovation project, was skillfully planned, designed and utilized by Rita and her

staff for the sole purpose of creating memorable library experiences for children.  And what memories they have … from a one-of-a-kind Story Time Room to fun programs to a comprehensive collection of books and materials in a variety of formats – all due to Rita’s vision and leadership.  But most important to Rita are the children and her influence on them regarding the importance of reading and the appreciation of the library.

Rita is particularly proud of hosting 22 years of Battle of the Books.  The Battle started with four 4th grade teams (about 20 children) and has grown to an average of 50 teams, which now also includes 5th graders.   Recently she has found working with challenged children from many organizations including the Watson Institute and Quaker Valley very fulfilling.

Memories for a job well-done include the little surprises of gifts of gratitude from the children and their caregivers.  Most recently the children from a YMCA camp gave her homemade cookies and dubbed her a Community Hero.  Other gifts of gratitude include a slate owl made from children’s thumbprints, plate with drawings of book characters and many hand designed cards and coloring pages.

The magazine, Sewickley Living, has also published an excellent article about Rita.  If you do not receive the magazine at your home, please stop by the library to peruse the magazine and learn more about the intrepid head of our Children’s Department, Rita Crawford.

The Library Board has declared September to be Rita Crawford month at the Library in order to give everyone an opportunity to thank our long time Children’s Librarian on the occasion of her retirement after 31 years.  We invite you to submit stories about Rita and her impact on the community.  Please join us for a reception honoring Rita in the Children’s Department on Tuesday, September 20 from 4:00 to 8PM. Everyone is welcome and your presence will make Rita’s day even more special.  I hope you will also take this opportunity to help us recognize how special Rita has been through a donation to the Library in September.  We cannot think of a better

Public Reception in the Children’s Department for Mrs. Crawford is Tuesday, September 20 from 4PM to 8PM. We hope to see you there!

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