Bridger Memorial librarian Faye
Sykes retiring after 37 years
Sykes has spent the past 37 years listening
to the trains rumble through downtown
Bladenboro, and once helped chase a
chaos-causing squirrel out of Bridger
Memorial Library. Along the way, she's made
hundreds of friends and helped people find
what they need.
branch of the Bladen County Public Library
system closes Wednesday, "Miss Faye," as
she's affectionately known, will retire from
her job as a librarian that she's held since
the summer of 1977.
years is enough," Sykes said with a laugh
Monday afternoon prior to a reception held
in her honor at Bridger Memorial Library.
"I'm going to miss the people,"
Sykes said. "A branch library is closer to
the patrons because you get to know
everything they like and what certain
patrons want. I've had a couple of people
say 'What am I going to do for books?'"
Susan Guyton, the children's librarian
for the Bladen County system, has the
answer. "You're going to have a job," she
"I have loved working with
Faye," Guyton said. "I didn't know Faye
until I came to work here almost two years
ago, but I love working with Faye. It's like
working with your best friend, and the
people love Faye. When they come in, if they
don't see her, sometimes they'll turn around
and walk right back out the door because
they want to see Faye."
Sykes, who is
61 years old, began working at Bridger
Memorial Library in 1977 as part of the
Comprehensive Employment and Training Act
(CETA) summer job training program, which
was a federal program designed to train
workers and provide them with jobs in public
"That first summer I kept
the library open 40 hours a week," Sykes
said. "At the end of the summer, somebody
was needed to keep it open, (but) the town
only kept it open two hours a day, five days
a week. It was about a year later that we
were given more time.
I enjoyed, and it's where I wanted to work.
The guy that got me the CETA job said that
it's the longest CETA job he's ever seen,"
she said with a chuckle. "They couldn't run
Sykes has seen many changes
during her career. Libraries in 1977 stamped
cards that were put in the back of books to
let patrons know when the book was to be
returned and used a card-catalog system that
was stored in small drawers. Today's
libraries are wired for the Internet, books
can be downloaded to E-readers, and patrons'
records are kept on computer.
"Everybody wants to be on a computer," Sykes
said. "The card system has got more
advanced. You can download to the tablets."
Sykes also said the North Carolina
Public Library system is hoping to offer a
service beginning next spring where if
there's a book you need elsewhere in the
state that the library will pay the postage
and send you the book, then you can return
it to your local library.
retirement, Sykes says she plans to help her
niece with homeschooling and "I've got a
friend up in the mountains that wants me to
go see her. I'm just going to do some stuff
that I want to do."
Will she still
stop by Bridger Memorial Library, the place
she's called a second home for the past 37
"Susan, what do you say about
that," Sykes says to Susan Guyton, the
come back," Guyton says.
library patrons will be pleased to see her.