Town librarian, who boosted local culture, retires after 34 years

STONY CREEK - The affection within the pine-paneled, book-lined interior of the library on the afternoon of Nov. 21 was palpable - and directed toward Norma Hastings.

After 34 years as local librarian, Hastings was retiring from the Stony Creek Free Library.

At the reception for Hastings, she talked with one well-wisher after another that filled the library.

Asked what she'd be doing after retirement, she replied, "I'm looking forward to some time to read some books."

Known locally as a skilled gardener, she said she's now spending time in her vegetable garden, planning for next spring's plantings.

"I'll be growing my own plants again," Hastings said, noting she'll also be considering some canoeing excursions. She and her husband Walter have enjoyed hikes and canoe trips through the years.

Adirondack folk singers Peggy Lynn and Dan Berggren provided music and songs for the event - playing guitar and concertina.

Sandy Payne of the Stony Creek Library board presented a plaque and gift to Hastings, prompting applause from the gathering.

Dan Berggren and Peggy Lynn seemed to reflect the feeling of those attending the event. Berggren read a poem, "My Library," which ended with the line, "It's only a room with shelves and books, but it's far more magical than it looks."

The duo engaged the audience with a merry song written for the occasion, "Here's to You, as You Celebrate Retirement." The ode was punctuated with a chorus phrase, "Our friend Norma Hastings, the pride of Stony Creek."

Berggren and Peggy Lynn then sang songs about how women pass on traditions and strengthen the young for life ahead in two songs, "Big Beams" and "Stand a Chance."

The theme reflected Hastings' influence on the library and two generations of community citizens.

Under the direction of Hastings, the library grew from a single room with little more than the librarian's desk and bookshelves on an outer wall, to a spacious area more than double the size with sections of books sorted to reflect many interests, plus a section of computers with Internet access.

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