Closing a chapter: Martin, Tieskoetter retire after long library careersThey have put in a combined 40 years at Red Wing Public Library. But come Saturday, both Pat Martin and Patti Tieskoetter will officially be retired.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
They have put in a combined 40 years at Red Wing Public Library. But come Saturday, both Pat Martin and Patti Tieskoetter will officially be retired.
“I had no idea when I started this what a great job this is,” Martin said. “It was the right field.”
“Oh, yes,” Tieskoetter agreed.
Tieskoetter’s official last day was Jan. 24. Martin’s will be Saturday, after she leads her final family story time.
Martin began her career at Red Wing Public Library in 1991 as a part-time clerk. After growing up in New York City, she attended the University of South Florida to earn an undergraduate degree in English, but she moved to Minnesota with her husband to start their family.
“He thought it was important to bring children up in the Midwest,” Martin said.
The family moved to Red Wing in 1984 but previously had no other ties to the city.
“We just drove around,” Martin said. “We thought it looked like a nice city.”
Martin became the children’s librarian in 1994, and she has been supervisor for reference and inter-library loan during her time at the library.
“It’s a really good blend of working with people. You never get bored,” Martin said.
Over the years, Martin said she’s watched children go from attending preschool story times to participating in library teen activities.
“I have watched them grow,” she said, adding that she’ll miss the families and children here, as well as the staff and “everything about the library.”
As she steps away, Martin said she’s sure she is leaving Red Wing Public Library — and the children’s department — in good hands. Laura Smith will take over some of the children’s programming.
“I have great trust in her and how she will continue to keep the children’s department a vibrant and important part of the library,” Martin said.
Tieskoetter began at Red Wing Public Library in 1994. Over the years, she has worked mainly with inter-library loan and at the reference desk, “working with people on the frontline,” she said.
“I love to read,” Tieskoetter said of what first attracted her to work as a librarian. “It was working in the milieu of books and education and reading.”
Tieskoetter grew up in St. Paul. She had spent nine years working at a library in Albert Lea, Minn., when she heard about the opening in Red Wing.
Because she had attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and had driven down Highway 61 many times, she was very familiar with Red Wing’s downtown — something that initially attracted her to the city.
Looking back at her career in Red Wing, Tieskoetter said working with inter-library loan is what she enjoyed and will miss the most.
“Helping them to find information, when people come up with a question, I like to think, ‘Where would I go to find the answer,’” she said. “I’ve always been curious.”
And even though the number of questions she has received over the years has dropped since the Internet became more accessible, Tieskoetter said the need for libraries will never go away.
“Ebooks don’t begin to supply people with the things they need,” she said. “The importance of libraries is critical for everything we do.”
For both Martin and Tieskoetter, retirement doesn’t necessarily mean slowing down.
On May 1, Martin and her husband Mike will leave for Guyana on a two-year stint with the Peace Corps. She will serve as a community educator in the Third World county.
Martin said joining the Peace Corps had been a “vague idea” for her since her daughter Sarah served in 2001.
“Then, here it is,” she said. “I guess we can do that now.”
Martin and her husband applied nearly 15 months ago. Now, as they prepare to leave, they know that they will be in Guyana, but don’t yet know what community they will be stationed.
They also don’t know exactly what their duties will be, though Martin suspects she will continue working with education and books.
“I assume I’ll try to do something with libraries when I get there,” she said. “I don’t know what to expect.”
Martin said she and her husband will continue to live in Red Wing once they return.
For Tieskoetter, retirement will give her more time to volunteer, something she wasn’t always able to do while she was working. She currently serves as the co-president of the Red Wing League of Women Voters.
“I can finally put my time to that,” she said.
Tieskoetter said she has plans to seek out more volunteer work in the coming months.
“There are so many things I want to do,” she said. “I read about volunteer positions, and I say, ‘I can do that.’”
Still, Tieskoetter said she wants to make sure she leaves plenty of time for one thing.
“It’s been quite a bit since I came in and sat in a chair and read as a patron,” she said. “I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time.”