Wittenberg Librarian Leslie Hill retires

PHOTO BY MIRIAM NELSON Thanks to a $2,400 grant from the Friends of Shawano County Libraries Inc., librarian Leslie Hill was able to purchase a new work area for the Wittenberg Public Library. Hill, who retired Dec. 29, wanted to make sure the new librarian would have an adequate work space. She also purchased new book shelves.

For Leslie Hill, a part-time job at the Wittenberg library was her way of quickly getting to know the people in the area.

Twelve years later, on Dec. 29, Hill retired as the head librarian.

Hill, her husband, Bob, and their three children, Emily, Lizzie and Erika, moved from Milwaukee in 2004. Working full time as the phlebotomy supervisor at Aspirus Hospital in Wausau, Hill initially thought the library position was a volunteer one when she started in 2005.

Hill left her full-time job in 2011, picking up more hours and responsibilities at the library. She took over as head librarian when 18-year employee Alene Newcomb retired in 2012.

“Working here gave me the opportunity to meet more people in the village and the surrounding areas,” Hill said. “I liked finding fellow readers and discussing books and authors.”

“I’ll miss socializing with the people who come to the library,” Hill added.

During her time as head librarian, she was able to start a crochet group and a book club as well as expand on the summer reading program.

“I can honestly say I didn’t think I would do well with the children,” Hill said, “but there was a core group that really connected and would always approach me right after Christmas break, asking about the summer program.”

Shawano County will be consolidating the operations of all the libraries in 2018. The goals are to reduce costs incurred through lending books to residents in other counties, help streamline operations, and provide better coverage for sick days and vacation time.

Hill said the consolidation is what’s best for the county and for the taxpayers.

Hill felt the time was right to retire so she can spend more time with her children. Daughter Lizzie has been the inspiration for Hill’s involvement in Special Olympics. She plans to remain manager of Western Shawano County Special Olympics, as well as continuing to sing in her church choir and participating in league bowling.

“She was definitely an asset to our community,” noted Billy Switalla, Wittenberg village president. “She took care of everything related to the library.”

Sharon Beversdorf, a Wittenberg Village Board member, serves on the Shawano County Library Board.

“With Hill’s retirement on Dec. 29 and someone at the Birnamwood library retiring, staff from the Shawano City Library will be able to fill in until replacements are hired,” Beversdorf said.

She said there would be a notice in the newspaper when the library starts accepting applications for the positions.

The Wittenberg library was built in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, a work program that provided jobs for people during the Great Depression. An addition in 1968-69 doubled the size of the building.