Two Longtime Library Colleagues And Friends Will Retire Together
Debra Jackson and Terri Frederick
, of Avon Lake, both fell in love with libraries and reading at a young age, come from a family of teachers and readers, and strongly believe in the power of a Public Library
The two longtime Lorain Public Library System colleagues and friends will retire at the end of this year after serving in their leadership roles well over two decades.
Jackson, public services coordinator, leaves the library system with a 26-year legacy; Frederick, public relations officer, leaves with 24 years.
As difficult as leaving their home away from home may be, the pair both expressed they were glad to be retiring together.
“Debra has been a wonderful mentor to me,” said a teary-eyed Frederick, “She has been one of the most influential people that I’ve worked with here because she knows public libraries so well.”
In Jackson, Frederick found a confider. When she first arrived at LPLS and did not understand an aspect of her job or of the Library, Frederick said she would turn to Jackson for knowledge and support.
“She is very willing to help you learn something that you need to know,” said Frederick. “The teacher in her makes her an excellent go to person. She makes information understandable and usable.”
It wouldn’t be long before the pair would develop more than a business relationship, and build a friendship.
Jackson, who preferred to be interviewed on her friend than herself, energetically described Frederick.
“Terri is the most patient person in the planet,” Jackson repeatedly said. “She’s so calm and patient with everybody. She’s very cordial with everybody,” Jackson said.
And understandably, retirement has been an emotional experience.
“This is hard because we’re personal friends,” Jackson said of Frederick “Because I’ve known her so long and watched her kids grow up.”
Their coworkers describe Frederick as nice, but Jackson said the pleasant demeanor runs in the family.
“As nice as Terri is, her whole family is that nice,” Jackson said “Her husband and the kids. I’ve gotten Christmas and birthday cards from her daughter,” she said.
Described by their colleagues as two hardworking overachievers, Jackson and Frederick successfully organized many well-attended children and family events.
Jackson, who worked at LPLS first as a children’s librarian and department manager and then as a public services coordinator with a circulation/operations manager role, helped organize a wide variety of popular family programs.
Frederick, in her public relations and marketing role, was also instrumental in helping to promote and to host those popular events.
They helped orchestrate successful library events including: the appearance of Liz Hermann, from Cleveland’s Channel 43’s Kids Land, a popular show of the 1990s; the attendance of Toni Morrison, cherished Lorain native author, for the dedication of Lorain’s Main Library’s reading room in the author’s honor; and the appearance of Cleveland Indians Pitcher Scott Bailes.
These programs’ success brings pride and humorous memories to the pair.
Recalling the “cookie incident” still brings laughter to the two accomplices, Jackson and Frederick.
They were transporting cookies for a Library event that would honor African-American authors.
“Terri must have stepped on the brakes and all the cookie boxes went flying in the back; all the boxes fell in the back of her van,” Jackson said. Luckily, the cookies never left the safety of their boxes. “We saved the cookies,” Frederick added.
One of the most memorable qualities Frederick holds of her friend’s work style is Jackson’s ability to bring order to any crowded room.
A very popular children’s program, Frederick recalled how Jackson managed to keep the children calmly waiting for their turn to meet the presenter.
Frederick said Jackson told the children if they wanted an autograph and to meet the presenter, they had to stay seated. And stayed they did. The program ran smoothly and all children were able to enjoy themselves.
“Debra takes control,” Frederick said “You know that if she’s involved in it, she will take charge and it’s going to get done.”
Yet no one can control the changes an institution faces, changes that provided both challenge and opportunity, and changes they witnessed together.
In over 20 years, they’ve seen the Library gradually shift from a mostly print to a nonprint material providing institution. They’ve seen the growing trend toward eReaders, eBooks, computers and online use.
They’ve weathered dwindling state funding and learned to maximize the resources available.
They’ve also witnessed the library system grow to serve a larger, more diverse patron base.
And they’ve seen the Library transform from primarily a provider of information to now also a community place for entertainment, learning and connection.
Both plan to spend more time after retirement reading and volunteering.
Frederick said retiring does not mean the duo will be parting ways anytime soon.
“Debra can’t get away from me because she lives right down the street,” Frederick joked “I’m glad we’re retiring together so we will be doing regular lunches.”
“It is nice we’re going to retire together,” Jackson added.
Best of luck Debra Jackson and Terri Frederick!
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