SHERIDAN — The future of the Senior Outreach Services program remains uncertain, but one thing is certain: Judy Armstrong will officially retire from the Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library June 15, and she’s staying positive about the outcome of that decision.
Armstrong took over as manager of the Senior Outreach Services at the library 21 years ago this April. She’s worn many hats while fulfilling her desire to live and work as a public servant, including front desk attendant and keeper of the Wyoming Room on occasion. Her stint as manager of the outreach services is a job of which she’s most proud, and while she’s eager to start her life of retirement, she’s also sad to leave people she now considers like family.
“I’ve gotten attached to many, many (patrons) over the years, which is another reason why I have kept going as long as I have,” Armstrong said. “Not only have I become attached to them, those that do have families that are involved that live in town, I’ve become close to them as well.
“I feel like it’s my family member.”
Armstrong delivers books once a week on a month-long rotation, so each participant of the program receives a new set of books from her on a monthly basis.
Some of her customers receive a customary few books, while others ask for around 20 books to keep them entertained until she returns. Not all are elderly, either. Some of the participants have trouble leaving their home because of illness or injury.
Since the beginning of Armstrong taking over the program, she’s grown it to a steady 50 to 60 members; at one point she serviced 70 home-based library patrons. Armstrong said the people being serviced through the delivery program are just as much patrons as anyone who walks through the door.
“I hope (the board remembers) those people are patrons, too (and) just as important as the people who can get to the library and walk through the door and do their own selections,” Armstrong said.
The board briefly mentioned next steps while discussing next year’s budget during its monthly meeting March 20.
“That decision is up to the trustees; if we don’t fill that or make it a smaller,” Library Director Cameron Duff told the trustees.
Duff already cut the health care equivalent for that position in next year’s budget, anticipating not hiring another full-time employee for Armstrong’s position. In addition to the outreach services, Armstrong helps in the Wyoming Room weekly. By not rehiring the full-time position, Wyoming Room hours may also decrease.
The trustees did not meet in April, as they are presenting the budget proposals to Sheridan County Commissioners this month, but will reconvene next month. Armstrong said they may again discuss the position during their May or June meeting, but patrons will need to be serviced in between Armstrong’s June 15 departure and a trustees meeting.
“I’m trying to think positive and hope it will continue on,” Armstrong said. “Maybe not the same way, you know…they may have to revise it a little bit, but if we can still just keep something going, I’m hoping for that.”