Collins to retire after 23 years of bringing fun to reading – Voice Of Muscatine

She brought the fun to reading for the past 23 years at the Musser Public Library (MPL) and HNI Community Center. She also brought animatronic dinosaurs, live animals such as small sharks and descented skunks, and giant bubbles and foam cannons to children’s summer reading events. 

She coordinated huge winter programs with themes such as chocolate and famous buildings around the world. With a smile on her face she also kept her promise during one summer reading program and kissed … a bat.And every day she brought her reading voice, her ideas, her enthusiasm, a smile, and a helpful spirit for the benefit of all patrons, young and old.

Now after 23 years with Musser Public Library, the last 20 in the children’s department, Betty Collins is retiring effective October 15. 

During her time at MPL, she has contributed her joyfulness, her heightened sense of whimsy and celebration, and her deep knowledge of the varied paths that children take as they learn and grow.

Examples of programming that encouraged children to explore these learning paths have included Sparkplugs family programs, Skeleton Key hands-on science events, O Baby Lapsit, and special experiences such as large-scale extravaganzas that relied on the participation and expertise of library patrons and families with their collective knowledge.

A celebration for Collins will be held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in her favorite area of the library, the children’s department, on Saturday, October 14. Everyone is welcome to join Musser Library staff and the City of Muscatine in reminiscing on her years of dedicated service and wishing her well on her next great adventure.

A note from Betty Collins:

Dear Friends,

Despite having a deep satisfaction with my job as Youth Services Librarian, current family responsibilities lead me to believe my best course of action is to retire on October 15, 2023. To use an expression which reminds me of dinners eaten at Ina Mae’s back in the day, I have so many fish to fry, they just don’t fit in the skillet! Stepping back from leading the Children’s Department will help me better manage and balance my other life responsibilities.

I would like to express gratitude to the City of Muscatine, Musser Public Library, and our entire community for an incredibly fulfilling experience over the last two decades. Being able to listen to the thoughts and ideas of fellow humans of all ages, participate in children’s intellectual, creative, and social-emotional growth in real time, and share the experiences, good and bad, of life milestones with community members is the best career I can imagine. I also want to shout out to my remarkable co-workers who have not only put up with my crazy ideas and messy office, but have also been an integral part of what for me has been a glorious adventure. Thank you.

Of course, in a community like ours, so much work is accomplished collectively. It is a privilege to work with the many stellar organizations, groups, and agencies of our town. In modern parlance, you rock!

Last but not least, I believe that when several other library personnel left a year or so ago, the rumor went out that I had also retired. Not so! But now, the rumors are true! Please drop by the party on October 14, between 11 am and 1 pm.


Betty Collins

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