Tag Archives: AnnieSzuch

Annie Szuch Retires after 40 Years of Library Service

Annie Closes a Door on a Library Era

While she Opens a Door into her Future!

Annie Szuch
Beth Annie Szuch, retirement celebration, January 6, 2017.

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.

Beth Annie Szuch. Librarian, Thompson Library, University of Michigan-Flint.

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.

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Retirement celebration for Annie Szuch, January 6, 2017.

It was during her undergrad years that Annie met fellow student and biology major, Ernie Szuch. The rest is history.

After they married, Ernie went on to get his graduate degree in biology, eventually returning to teach on our campus, becoming a respected fixture of UM-Flint until his own recent retirement.

Annie chose a different path.   She continued her education by obtaining her master’s degree in Library Science from UM-Ann Arbor.

UM-Flint Libraray in the Mott Memorial Building (1970s).

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.

University of Michigan-Flint Library, 5th floor, CROB, mid 1980s.

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.

Construction of the Thompson Library, which opened October 1994.
Thompson Library, 3rd floor carrels overlooking the Atrium.
Thompson Library, north side.

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.

And thus ends an era.

Though Annie is leaving us, her life will continue to remain full and active.

Smudge Szuch in the rafters at home during the holidays.

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.

Annie at her favorite hobby.

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.

Annies Cane
Annie’s cane, uniquely personalized!

Annie2Knowing 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.)

Retirement Celebration for Annie Szuch, Thomposon Library, 2017.

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.

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Annie Szuch retirement celebration, Thompson Library, 1-6-17.


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.


—    Biology Specialist Librarian    —

—     Technical Services Specialist Librarian      —

—     Talented Crafter     —


—      Devoted Kitty Mom!      —


(Click on any photo to enlarge)


Annie3Another Flint area native — one of many among our staff — Beth Annie Szuch was born in Lapeer and raised in Attica where she grew up on a farm in the country. This may have influenced her choice of majors, but her choice of schools was natural; her father also attended UM-Flint where he obtained a teaching degree.

It was during her undergrad years at Flint campus that she met the young grad student Ernie Szuch during a field trip. She claims she was clueless as to why the handsome grad student followed her everywhere and arranged to pair off with her for cooking duty and… almost everything.  Ernie Szuch 40 years of service award   Until, of course, the moment during a private nature walk when he turned to her and planted a big one on her lips!
Ernie and Annie married; Ernie picked up his masters in biology while Annie chose UM-Ann Arbor library school for her masters in library science . The young couple found an old house in Davison, a fixer-upper that gave them many years of fixing-upping.   It should come as no surprise that they opted to build their dream home — a lovely, log home (NOT the log cabin of history!) — as a completely finished “turn-key” constructed. No more fixing upping! Instead they spend their free time on nature excursions doing research.
Annie and Ernie (now an instructor in the UM-Flint Biology Dept) have taken students on study trips and done independent research to some of the most beautiful spots on earth, including marine biology studies in the Caribbean (the students snorkeled the reefs), camping in the Great Northern Woods and several — such as their upcoming trip — to southeastern United States.

Annie4This spring Annie and Ernie will be hunting for salamanders in the Smoky Mountains.   Salamanders?   Ask Annie.   She enthusiastically describes these colorful creatures and their wide range of habitats. Precursors of lizards, salamanders occupy an important niche in our wild environment, and Annie can easily describe size, color and locale of several species.  Yuck?   NO!   Lovely, wonderful and very interesting creatures.    Sure, Annie…

We were lucky that Annie had so many ties to the Flint area as she returned to Thompson Library in 1977, assigned to work with Ingrid in Technical Services. At that time Annie processed serials (incoming journal issues and outgoing volumes sent to bindery, maintaining journals on shelf and in the card catalog).

Over the years Annie has done almost every job in Technical Services.   But she’s also worked regularly as one of our Reference Librarians, manning shifts throughout the week on the Reference Desk and fielding questions that are specifically in the field of biology.

Annie has also accepted, reviewed and processed all donated materials to the library for several years, no small feat.   Each item donated must be checked against our current holdings for duplication or obsolesces due to newer editions.   Items selected to be placed in the collection must then be cataloged, a call number assigned, a spine label created and applied, the cataloging record placed in the library catalog (no more card catalogs — Mirlyn is digital and fully online today).   Then the item is placed on the “New Book Shelf” so people can catch all newly processed materials before it is finally placed on the shelf in the main collection.

All of this was good preparation for Annie’s latest duty assignment.   Our long-time head of Technical Services — Dave Hart — retired last year after 30 some years working in Thompson Library.   Annie was the logical choice for the job.

With the slow erosion of personnel in our Technical Services division, Annie is now the sole cataloger in our library.    Along with Ahn Thach (serials),  Annie places all new item orders via the library Acquisitions module of the library management software (ALEPH) located in Ann Arbor and of which Thompson Library is a part.

Once new orders arrive in our building,  Annie oversees the labeling (printing the correct call number on a special labeling machine)  and bar coding  (bar codes must be placed in specific locations inside each item and recorded into the online cataloging module of Aleph)  of each item, then sends them to thAnnie2e New Book Shelf for use.


Please stop in soon and visit with Annie to learn about Smudge, Petunia and Gracie the cats, her log home, her spinning and knitting volunteer work — or to ask her a library question!