It was a long trip for a 10-year-old little girl from Stuttgart, Germany to a career at the Riverside Public Library that spanned 30 years until her retirement party on Nov. 9.

Irene Young ended up in Chicago and graduated from St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Radiology where she served in a supervisory capacity to radiology students. Her career changed paths when she married and became a parent with a child attending St. Frances Xavier grade School in LaGrange. Irene was volunteered by her child to help out in the school’s library.

More than three decades later, Irene Young was recognized by her colleagues and many friends of all ages, in Riverside, who attended her party.

Riverside Library Director Janice Fisher read a proclamation from Riverside Village President Michael Gorman and spoke of Irene’s many attributes, praising her loyal service to the library.

“Irene is so good with patrons,” said Fisher. “She is calm, and it is more than just checking out books.”

Fisher added that in Young’s many years at the library, she had been introduced to five different computer systems and was deftly able to handle them all.

Sharon Shroyer, a colleague, talked of being hired by Young, who was at that time the library’s circulation manager. Working together closely, the two eventually switched positions with Shroyer becoming circulation manager and Young working under her at the time of her retirement.

For her part, Young smiled as she told her guests how much she would miss the library, her friends and patrons, but she promised to come back and visit from the “other side of the desk.”

Young soon will be leaving on a trip to Switzerland, and I imagine it won’t be long before she returns to the Library with tales of her trip.

The evening was a reminder that libraries have changed – we can even talk in them. They are no longer just about books, but instead are a valuable resource for all types of information and media.

They are also about people, and for 30 years Irene Young was one of those people who made a building more than a place to house books.