Wolfe turns love of books into career; One-hundredth anniversary of library in Troy approaching
TROY - What started out as a volunteer position has turned into a fulfilling career for Sue Wolfe of Burlington Township.
Wolfe began volunteering in the 1970s at the Troy Free Public Library, which had been located in what is now the C & N Bank Building in Troy.
Back then, she performed duties like shelving books, making sure the books were in the correct order on the shelves, and working the checkout desk.
Her volunteer work continued up through the late 1980s. In 1989, she took over the librarian duties at what was then the new library, which is the current Allen F. Pierce Free Library. It's located across the street from the C & N Building and is attached to the borough hall.
When asked why she wanted to take over the librarian responsibilities, Wolfe responded, "because I like being in the library. I like talking to people and finding out what they want."
"Every day is like a little puzzle, trying to find the right book for the person."
She said her volunteer work also helped her become more gregarious.
"I was very shy growing up, and as I did the volunteer work, I became more outgoing."
For Wolfe, books have been a lifelong love.
"I always liked to read. Whenever they wanted to find me, they found me in a chair with a book. Mom and Dad read to us when we were little. We always had the storybooks."
Looking back on her life, Wolfe said she was born in a maternity home in Canton. Her family lived in Alba and she went to a one-room schoolhouse in Alba. "It was a two-story, but it was old, so you didn't get to use the top story," she said. She noted it had an outhouse. It later burned down, she said.
Later, her family moved to Ogdensburg in Tioga County, Pa., and she attended fifth and sixth grade in a two-room schoolhouse where two teachers taught. "There wasn't kindergarten back then; you had six grades, first through sixth," she said.
Then, Wolfe attended junior high school in Canton. When her family moved back to Alba, she then attended Troy High School, where she graduated in 1968. She said high school business teachers Marie Canedy and Nancy Rumpff had a good influence on her.
"Both are passed now, but they were very helpful to me in finishing school.."
Also, Wolfe said the former Troy librarian, Carole DeLauro, now Carole Bayer, was a good mentor when she was a library volunteer. She's currently the library board of trustees president in Troy, Wolfe said.
In addition to helping people, Wolfe said she enjoys seeing children appreciate books during story hour. Mysteries and action/adventure books are her favorites, though she said that she enjoys most every kind. Her favorite authors are Clive Cussler and Nevada Barr.
Dr. Abby Werlock of Armenia Township, a member of the library board of trustees in Troy who facilitates book discussion groups at the library, said she's known Wolfe for a long time.
She said Wolfe has "absolute devotion to the library and all its patrons, especially the children."
"I also admire her desire to improve professionally by attending conferences," she added. "And she has been an absolute tireless advocate for our book groups at the library, and she does a lot of behind-the-scenes arranging and ordering of books for the whole group and staying in touch by e-mail with members of the group to keep them current. And she's a wonderfully generous woman."
"If you ever have a problem, she will always offer to drop everything to help you. She's really good that way."
In her spare time, Wolfe and her husband, Nelson, are avid travelers. They've driven to such places as Alaska, Florida and the Grand Canyon and other places in the west. She said they drove over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and took a ride on the cog railway in New Hampshire up Mount Washington, which Wolfe said is billed as having the worst weather on earth. She said it has an extremely steep incline.
"We went up Pike's Peak (in a pick-up truck) and I had to cover my head on the way up," she said. "It was just too scary. I couldn't look out. It's like you're driving and there's nothing on either side of you, just under you. It's like sky and clouds and very high."
Also, Wolfe said she enjoys animals, swimming, and fishing. She and her husband have gone on fishing trips to Canada. The biggest fish she ever caught was a 12-inch walleye, which she hooked in a lake in Canada. The lake, she said, was remote, and she had to fly in to the lake on a pontoon plane. "It was fun," she said. Wolfe and her husband have been married 46 years, and they have two grown sons, Michael and Christopher, and six grandsons.
On a historical note, her great-great aunt was Martha Lloyd, the namesake of Martha Lloyd Community Services. Wolfe said that Lloyd was "matronly." "She was nice," she said. "She would give us a silver dollar to get ice cream."
Meanwhile, Wolfe said she is looking forward to the 100th anniversary of Troy having a library. She said the original library was started January 1912.
Wolfe said they haven't formalized any plans yet for the celebration, but she has asked the Chamber of Commerce to create a Christmas ornament featuring the library in 2012.
She said a lot of things have happened over those 100 years, especially with technology in the library.
"Who would have thought we would have computers and online Internet databases? It's a place to find old things and special new things, if you go to the library."
Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.