Nita Burke has been the library director at the Johnson Public library for the past six years, but as of March 26, she will be leaving that position to enter retirement.
The hiring committee of the board of directors for the Johnson Public Library officially accepted Burke’s resignation at their meeting on Feb. 6 “with gratitude.”
Nate Wiegel, board president, stated that they were sad to see Burke go and that she would be very difficult to replace. Burke thanked the board for their statements and said, “I’ve enjoyed working as the library director here in Darlington.”
“I feel that I did the best job that I could do, and learned to be the person I am today,” said Burke about her time as library director.
She admitted that she will miss the patrons of the library that came in with interesting stories. “Someone would come in and I would plan to give them 10 minutes and would end up giving them an hour and a half because it was so interesting,” said Burke, “And I don’t regret it. They were worth my time, they’re worth anyone’s time,” she added.
She said she will also miss the children’s aspect of the library, as she has always enjoyed things involving the children of the community such as the Twilight Story hour.
Some things that Burke will not miss include some of the more mundane things like weeding out older books, the long hours, and having to work some nights and weekends. She also didn’t like certain things when she first started, like bookkeeping and budgeting, but she said she eventually grew to enjoy those aspects of the job. Overall she said, “There were very few things I didn’t like.”
Burke said that she has had a very positive experience during her time at the library and that she’s “experienced so much.” “I’ll take with me the memories, well into my old age,” she added.
Some of the things that Burke has come up against during her time as library director have been challenging, such as working to make the library a multicultural resource center when the local Hispanic population began to grow, in order to serve all members of the diverse community.
Burke doesn’t speak Spanish, and said that made things difficult. But, she believes very strongly that “diversity is a good thing.” She explained that as library director, she needed to look at the community and what was happening and ask how she could improve it. That was challenging.
Burke has worked at many different positions through her career, including substitute teacher, a public relations position and a school librarian in Darlington, to name a few. But Burke said that even though she enjoyed her previous jobs, her position as library director at Johnson Public Library was “the best of my career.”
Burke said she chose to take an early retirement, simply because she can. She explained that she started her career later in life after farming for several years with her husband outside of Darlington.
Burke said her husband has no current plans to retire and they have been able to manage things in a way so that Burke will be able to retire. Although she plans to continue working on multiple projects that are close to her heart.
These projects include the expansion of available and affordable broadband throughout southwestern Wisconsin. Burke said she is very interested in that topic and believes that it is absolutely vital for communities in the area to have affordable access to high speed internet in order to thrive. She is also writing a paper on the new roles of librarians and libraries. Burke also plans to spend more time with her family, especially her grandchildren, and plans to take up blogging. She would also like to spend more time gardening, as she loves flowers. Burke said that she and her husband live on the farm that has been in her family for years and that the farm as well as their horses and dogs could use more attention.