Happy Retirement, Karen!

Another happy and sad moment for the Davenport Public Library and especially the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center. Karen O’Connor is retiring today, February 2nd, 2024 after 24 years and eight months of dedicated service.

Karen started in Special Collections on June 1, 1999, just a few months before the official grand opening of the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center on November 26, 1999. One of her first assignments was to be head coordinator for the World War II and Korean War Oral History Project. Karen led a group of volunteers interviewing Quad-Citians who were affected during these wars on the battlefield and the homefront. 24 years later, many of those who were interviewed have since passed away, but their stories remain thanks to the tireless and dedicated work of Karen and project volunteers.

Karen was also involved as the committee head to create and produce the Novel Cuisine Cookbook in 2003. This committee gathered the history of the Davenport Public Library, locally famous recipes from restaurants, plus recipes from library staff to create a cookbook that was sold at the library. Proceeds benefited the Davenport Public Library.

Another large project that Karen organized and oversaw was the 2009 Priester Construction Company donation of hundreds of blueprints. Karen sorted, catalogued, and stayed on top of the dehumidifying process of each set of blueprints from 2009 through 2013. While the Special Collections staff all participated in the dehumidifying process, we have Karen to thank for keeping us organized in a room filled with stacks of stacks of blueprints!

This blog would go on for pages if we tried to list everything Karen did over 24 years. She oversaw collections processing, created Finding Aids for collections, kept our closed stacks organized (incredibly important in the archiving world), migrated our local databases search to its new site Special Collections Indexes, identified most likely thousands of photographs (when someone came in with a photo to date we always called on Karen’s expertise), answered thousands of genealogical and local history questions from patrons and newspaper staff, and she always remembered just where a book was located in our stacks simply by a description of the book or contents. We are so grateful she was willing to learn ProCite, ArchiveSpace, SharePoint (and its many versions), and other programs over the years. Karen also helped create many of our brochures, genealogy packets, genealogy classes, and programs for adults and children.

Karen has done it all and we want to thank her for all her work, leadership, and mentoring over the years. While we are sad to see her go, we know a new exciting life awaits Karen in retirement. Time with her family including a new grandbaby is a priority. We hope she can now enjoy gardening and crafts without worrying about getting ready for work the next day as well.

Thank you Karen for everything you have done to create the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center we have today. We will miss you.

(posted by Kathryn, Katie, Cristina, and Amy D.)

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One Response to Happy Retirement, Karen!

  1. John M Dooley says:

    Congratulations, Karen. Welcome to the retired club.

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