Thompson believes library will remain in ‘wonderful’ hands

Newly retired manager Linda Thompson may not be exactly happy about leaving the Port Orchard Library, but she’s certain it will be in good hands when she’s gone.

“It wasn’t hard at all to leave it in (Kathleen Wilson’s) hands,” Thompson said. “She’s a wonderful person and everything she touches (at the library) turns to gold.”

Thompson said ever since she hired Wilson in 2000 as the library’s first children’s — or Young People’s — librarian, her affect has been immediate.

“Since we brought (her) in, the numbers have skyrocketed,” Thompson said halfway into Wilson’s tenure, explaining that children began flocking to the library after Wilson started visiting local schools to recommend books for them to read.

“Right after she goes to a school, kids run in here and say, ‘Where’s Miss Kathleen? I want to get that book she recommended,” Thompson said, explaining that Wilson quickly learned to recommend different books at different schools so the library wasn’t cleaned out of the titles.

Wilson, however, was more modest. She said there just wasn’t anyone else before her to stock the shelves with so many great children’s books, or work with the other children’s librarians in the Kitsap Regional Library branches to bring interesting programs for kids to Port Orchard.

Such as the popular PAWS summer reading program. Designed to keep kids reading over the summer across the KRL system, Wilson said its name is meant to get kids to “pause” to read.

A year and a half ago, Wilson was promoted to assistant branch manager, a position that Thompson admits served mainly as an opportunity to prepare Wilson to take over her job.

“I have been mentoring her like crazy,” Thompson said, explaining that so much of the manager’s job has nothing to do with books. “There’s your staff, and the public, and the city — and the rest of the library system.”

But Thompson said she was certain that not only was Wilson was ready for the job, but she had a “great team” to support her, as well.

“Everyone works together so well, from the information desk to the circulation staff,” Thompson said, explaining that nearly everyone she has hired in nine years, she would hire again.

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