The following article was submitted by Tim Gadzinski, the Marketing Associate for the Manitowoc Public Library.
Some emails land harder than others.
Sometimes it’s a good thing—like leftover pizza in the breakroom from an event over-buy. Other times, it’s not so great—like an announcement regarding a fantastic coworker stepping away from their position. Sadly, I’ll be writing about an example of the latter.
Susie Menk had been a Youth Services Librarian ever since I started working at Manitowoc Public Library over six years ago. In fact, later this month she would’ve been celebrating her twelve-year anniversary at the Library. I say would’ve because a couple of weeks ago, we were informed via one of those emails that land with a thud that Susie was going to be leaving MPL to explore new opportunities. Quite honestly, my first thought was “Oh, no.”
There may be other people that I work with more frequently at MPL than Susie, but not many. And fewer still that I like working on projects with more. Though she didn’t share an office space with the Marketing Team at the Library, our office does have an extra office chair in it that’s referred to as “The Susie Chair” because she spent a decent amount of time in our office going over program details. Not entirely because we were super chit-chatty, but because Susie was involved with a lot of different programs and events.
Tons of different younger patrons knew her from the Baby Lapsit storytimes and her Preschool Storytimes. “Miss Susie” was definitely a fixture in their visits to MPL. And when it came to spearheading our STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics), coding, and robotics offerings in Youth Services, Susie was second to none. She was also known to celebrate superheroes a time or two during her time here.
The last big project that I got to work on with Susie was bringing in bestselling author, actor, and lover of history, Sarah Vowell, to Capitol Civic Center for an author event. Susie asked me to be a part of the team that took on the task and I gladly accepted. And not only because I’d get to meet the author of one of my favorite books (“Assassination Vacation”). Even though I knew it would be a decently arduous task, I gladly accepted her invitation. Primarily because while we’d obviously need to roll up our sleeves to get Sarah to Manitowoc, I had no doubt that the process was going to be fun. And it didn’t disappoint. Additionally, we managed to bring in an experience that was definitely not more-of-the-same for a town our size—it was a big town evening in a small town setting.
You may remember that I mentioned that I’m one of the marketing people at MPL. Well, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Susie was most definitely a stalwart in helping to spread the word about everything upon which I called upon her to do. One time, during a mock-up broadcast we were doing to help train a fellow staff member on the StreamYard platform, I asked her the fake submitted question, “How many articles do I think I’ll ask you to write before we finish up here?” I believe that her answer was a deadpan “Twelve.”
In fact, stalwart may be too slight a word. From numerous Seehafer News and Herald Times Reporter articles to radio appearances on WCUB’s “Breakfast Club” or WOMT’s “Be My Guest” to numerous appearances on Coolest Coast’s “Coffee on the Coast”—including one memorable occasion where I dropped in unannounced to gobble-down a few snack crickets while she was chatting with Tina Prigge about last year’s Summer Reading Program—Susie was always more than happy (at least to my face) to oblige. That was the thing about Susie—we worked on a lot of things together, but they never seemed like work because we always managed to have a good time doing them.
Now she’s gone. And she’ll definitely be missed. Even more than we know, probably.
But, that’s how the world works most of the time. Teams that you imagine will be taking the field together forever don’t always work out that way. In fact, they rarely do.
So, while I’m disappointed that our days of collaborating have come to an end, ultimately it’s more beneficial to focus on celebrating our time with Susie, instead. The Arrow of Time moves in a single direction—forward. MPL will continue to be a cornerstone of our community, tending to the educational, intellectual, and cultural needs of our patrons in innovative ways. And Susie will undoubtedly bring a massive amount of positive know-how and can-do to the table in her new endeavors. Godspeed!
Besides, we’ll always have snacking crickets!