Unbeknownst to her at the time, Deb Kelly actually started her library career in 1972 at Northwest College (NWC) in Powell as a library student employee. After graduating from NWC in 1974, Deb transferred to Eastern Montana College in Billings and in 1977 earned her B.S. Ed. with a library endorsement. From 1979-81, Deb officially started her 41-year library career by working as a teacher and librarian in two Montana schools.
After a long career, Deb is retiring from the NWC Library on June 19. A drop-in reception in her honor will be held in the library on Wednesday, April 21, from 3:30-5:30 p.m.
In 1983, Deb was hired by NWC as a Library Technical Assistant-Processing. The library building was brand new with new, empty shelves for periodicals. That summer was busy organizing and shelving periodicals and rearranging the new and old book shelves. Deb worked in technical services, completing many of the tasks we still do today (interlibrary loans, processing, inventory), except she typed catalog cards and filed them in lovely myrtle wood library catalog drawers: The Library Catalog. Her working contract was 6 hours per day for 8 months per year.
In 1988, Deb moved to Meeteetse and became the children’s librarian at the Meeteetse Branch (and school) Library. She taught library skills to K-8th graders and provided up to three children’s story-times per week. She ordered and processed books purchased with her school budget and attended regular book acquisition meetings to expend county funds. She also created bulletin boards displays, evaluated book reviews, shelved books, assisted patrons and students, and entered books into the new online catalog that would become WYLDCat.
In 1996, Deb came back home to Powell and returned to the NWC library as a night and weekend Library Assistant. After 2.5 semesters she was hired as a full-time (10 month) Library Assistant in charge of Interlibrary Loans, Serials, and Government Documents (FLDP program). Over time, this position was upgraded to Librarian status and Deb expanded her duties as a team member to manage serials digital access and provide evening reference services at the NWC Cody Outreach Center. Deb still enjoys educating college students through displays and working with community members, faculty, staff, and students to locate and bring in interlibrary loans.
After retirement, Deb will start with spending more time with her husband, David, sleeping in, making jewelry and greeting cards (they are very awesome), and knitting. The NWC library will make sure she is stocked up with interlibrary loans and a McNaughton book or two.