People in The News

Linda Hoelzel Retires from Dudley-Tucker Library
By Leslie O’Donnell     3-2-17

After more than 30 years, Linda Hoelzel is retiring from the Dudley-Tucker Library in Raymond.

Currently its director, Hoelzel began her library career in Raymond by chance in October 1986. The director at the time, Sherry Brox, asked her to work at the library for an hour a day to shelve books, as she had hurt her knee and couldn’t do the shelving.

From there Hoelzel took on additional duties, including checking books in and out, and as her workload increased, so did her hours of work. She worked full time as assistant director for many years, then became library director in 2011 when Brox retired.

Hoelzel said she has enjoyed her career at the library, even though it was not something she had planned. She has an associate’s degree in computer programming, and having worked as a licensed practical nurse, she was studying to become a registered nurse when Brox asked her to help at the library.

"I got the call and never left the library," said Hoelzel, a Haverhill, Mass., native who moved to Raymond in 1976.

"I had never thought about going into library work," Hoelzel said, although she noted she has always loved libraries and describes herself as a big reader. "When I got to the library, I was happy doing the work. My kids were young and it was close to home, and after a while, I decided to stay with the library and not go back into nursing. And I’m happy with what I did."

Hoelzel said there have been many changes at the library through the years. "When I started, we didn’t have a movie section - now it’s very popular," she said. But the highlight for her was when the library became computerized.

She said a lot more people come into the library now for things other than books - whether it’s to use the computers, get a card to download books at home, or search databases.

Physical changes have made a difference at the library as well. The iconic red building downtown on Epping Street is a Carnegie library and was built in 1908.

Hoelzel noted that on March 13, 1917, after Town Meeting, the town hall burned down. From then until the new town hall was built in 1974, the selectmen's offices were located on the second floor of the library. At the bottom of the stairs going to the second floor was a wrought iron locked gate.

Before 1994, the entire library was housed on the main floor - the basement had not been updated since it was built, and the top floor could not hold the weight of books and instead was used for meetings.

Hoelzel explained that in 1993, voters approved putting an addition on the back of the building, the area that now houses offices upstairs, the bathroom area on the main floor, and the kitchen and elevator area in the basement. The construction project also made the basement and top floor useable.

Hoelzel, who has three children and three grandchildren, has no set plans for her retirement. "But people need to wait a whole year to ask me to do anything," she said with a laugh. She expects to remain in Raymond.

"It’s a little scary," she said of her approaching retirement. "It’s a new chapter in my life, and we’ll see what happens." Meanwhile, she plans to make good use of her library card.

Her last day of work at the Dudley-Tucker Library is March 17. Her replacement, Kirsten Rundquist Corbett of Raymond, formerly director of the Sandown Public Library, begins work March 6.

"I’ve really enjoyed the time I’ve had here," Hoelzel concluded. "I learned a lot here, and I would do it again."