SANDOWN – The Sandown Public Library was a busy place June 20, as the town came out to thank library director Barbara Lachance for her many years of service. Lachance has announced her retirement at the end of this month, and though she’s not moving away from town or the library community, her everyday presence in the library will be missed by many.
Lachance, who has lived in Sandown for more than 40 years, has worked at the library at two different times in her career. She began in 1984, three years later taking over the position of director. She served in that role until 1994, when she moved on to a full-time position at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass., where she also served as director starting in 1998.
Lachance returned to her town library in August of 2008 and has been director ever since. Library employees and trustees had an open house of sorts for Lachance on June 20. From noontime, when Lachance came in, there was a steady stream of visitors and well wishers.
Lachance, who hasn’t been very vocal about her retirement because of the attention it would likely garner her, was nevertheless pleased with the many visitors who stopped in. “It’s wonderful,” said Lachance about all of those who came by. She noted that she was fortunate to be able to sit down and reminisce with many of them.
The library was filled with snacks and pictures from throughout Lachance’s time in Sandown, from reading to children at story time in the 1980s to the present. At 6 p.m. those in attendance formally recognized the event with a specially made cake. Trustee Tina Owens spoke before the cake was cut.
“All of us want to make sure you understand that this really isn’t goodbye, it’s more like ‘Good luck in your next chapter’ and ‘it’s a ‘Keep in touch,’” said Owens. “Thanks for the memories.”
Many in attendance said Lachance was irreplaceable and commended her for her dedication through the library to the people, young and old, of Sandown.
An emotional Lachance kept her words brief. “I just want to say thank you to all of you. You’re good friends. That’s all I can say,” she said, flanked by the stacks of books that have long been her home.