Annie Closes a Door on a Library Era
While she Opens a Door into her Future!
For those of whose lives have formed part of the history of the Thompson Library, an era of monumental changes has ended.
Beth Annie Szuch, the last of our librarians who have been here since the 70s, has retired.
In a brief ceremony held in the Library on Friday (January 6, 2017), Laura Friesen and Becky Waller recited some of Annie’s accomplishments during her years working in the library.
The talking was followed by the eating, with a fantastic buffet enjoyed by librarians, library staff and several invited guests with close ties to Annie and her work within the Library and the Biology Department. During the entire event, there was a lot of reminiscing, with plenty of old stories told (some familiar, some new to several), memories shared, happy moments relived, a few tears, and lots of laughter.
Annie was accompanied to the gathering by her husband, Ernie Szuch (professor of Biology, retired).
As the Guest of Honor, Annie had the opportunity to visit with old friends and colleagues, even those no longer working at UM-Flint — such as her former supervisor and friend, Dave Hart (retired), Gary Pace from Biology (retired) along with his wife, Colleen, and Karen Arthur from Human Resources, just to name a few of those that attended.
Annie’s association with the University of Michigan-Flint goes way back. A native of the area, her father graduated from UM-Flint with a teaching degree. Years later, Annie followed in her father’s footsteps and graduated from UM-Flint, but with a degree in biology.
It was during her undergrad years that Annie met fellow student and biology major, Ernie Szuch. The rest is history.
Annie chose a different path. She continued her education by obtaining her master’s degree in Library Science from UM-Ann Arbor.
Annie began working at Thompson Library in 1977, where she was assigned to work with Ingrid in Technical Services.
Working in serials section of Tech Services, Annie processed the incoming journal issues and sent older volumes to the bindery, maintained journals on-shelf and updated the card catalog.
Over the years, Annie has progressed through the ranks, moving on to handling new book orders, donated books, and maintaining the index of materials owned by the Library through updating the (at that time) new online database, MIRLYN as our cataloger.
Plus, of course, Annie also worked front-and-center as a Reference Librarian, Biology Department Library Liaison, and teaching librarian.
Through all those decades of service, Annie has seen a lot of changes.
From starting out in the UM-Flint library that shared space with Mott College at the Mott Memorial Building, to the vast, open area where the library remained for a couple decades on the 5th floor of the Classroom Office Building (fondly know to one and all as CROB, now dubbed French Hall in honor of our former Chancellor), to the brand new facility made specifically and exclusively to house the Thompson Library, Annie has seen it all.
No other librarian in current service can make that claim.
Though Annie is leaving us, her life will continue to remain full and active.
She will continue to share her magnificent log cabin home with her husband, Ernie, as well as several family members that happen to have 4 legs, a tail and fur — and purr!
We’ll miss hearing of the exploits of Annie’s cats, both living and living in memory, such as Two-Spot, Smudge, Petunia and Gracie.
Her cats will be by her side when she enjoys some of her favorite hobbies, such as spinning wool into yarn, then using the yarn she created to knit beautiful and warm items of clothing.
Annie has developed a great deal of expertise in this particular hobby, and has taught both spinning and knitting to others.
Knowing Annie’s fondness for her knitting projects and anything related to yarn, her colleagues at the Thompson Library gave Annie a gift certificate to her favorite yarn shop, Heritage Spinning and Weaving of Lake Orion, where Annie has been known to teach a class or two as well.
Annie tells us she will be using her gift certificate to purchase a new 8-shaft loom to replace her old 4-shaft loom. The old loom will likely become available if anyone is interested in learning how to use one. (And of course, Annie can even teach you HOW to use a loom. She also teaches knitting, both beginner and advanced, as well.)
Not to be outdone, Gary Pace (retired UM-Flint associate professor of biology) and his wife, Colleen gifted Annie with a framed photograph of herself and Ernie — underwater, snorkeling in the clear, blue ocean.
It’s an incredible keepsake of just one of the many adventures that Annie and Ernie have shared over the years, including incredible memories of summers spent on expeditions from the Caribbean to the Smokey Mountains to the great forests of the north. Now they have a photo that captures an amazing moment of their many adventures together.
We all enjoyed the party, but it had a bitter-sweet overtone for everyone there, knowing that we were celebrating a life well lived, but that the course of that life would no longer include Annie’s bright and smiling face joining us daily — or boxes of donuts from the Davison bakery.
Annie, we are going to miss you.
But we join together in wishing you all happiness and all possible joy in your retirement.
May the new life you now begin be as wonderful — and as memorable — as the one you have left as your legacy.