Library system employees Kadhum, Rogers retire
By Stephanie Johns
Two employees of the Uncle Remus Regional Library System retired at the end of November. Ana Kadhum, Administrative Services Librarian, has been with them 30 years while Cheryl Rogers, Senior Administrative Librarian, has been with them 15 years.
Kadhum began work at the regional office in 1983.
Acting Director Steve Schaefer said that she has done everything from the bookmobile to toll-free reference services, from acquisitions to member library services, as well as her current role as administrative services librarian.
“We were so young when we first started,” he said. “With Ana it’s more family than employer/employee.”
He added that Kadhum’s sister married his wife’s brother so they have, in fact, spent time together as family during the holidays.
“Ana will always be a part of my family,” he said. “To say she will be missed will be an incorrect statement because she’ll still be around.”
Originally from Cuba, Kadhum came to Georgia from Florida where she attended junior college at Polk Community College in Winter Haven before pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communications and public relations at Florida State University.
She worked for a year at a textbook manufacturing company doing graphic design before deciding to pursue a graduate degree in library sciences.
“I’ve worked in libraries since high school,” she said, adding that she took a year to finish the graduate course and obtained her Master of Science degree in Library Science.
She started as the bookmobile librarian before moving to branch outreach. At the time they had four counties in their region: Hancock, Jasper, Morgan, and Putnam.
She noted that when they could no longer justify the bookmobile she would take a crate of books in a car and deliver them to families out in the county.
One of the people who looked forward to Kadhum’s bookmobile visits was Esther Curry. Curry recently shared memories of Kadhum via e-mail.
“I personally have wonderful memories of seeing the bookmobile coming up the driveway when I was a little girl,” she wrote, adding that those were the days when people in the country did not go to town during the week. “She really brought a lot of fun to us country kids when we were small.”
Kadhum then managed the Morgan County Library staff for a couple of years before becoming reference librarian in 1988.
“I did that about 20 years,” she said. “I loved it. That was probably my favorite.”
Kadhum explained that she would go online and gather research materials for those who called their toll-free number. She would then e-mail, mail, or prepare the materials for pickup.
“That was really revolutionary for our library because we were rural,” she said. “To start this reference hotline was really a big deal.”
She answered requests ranging from blueprints for a gas light restoration in downtown Madison to information about a murdered fiancé.
“It was like treasure hunting,” she said. “They were real esoteric things, really different.”
More recently she has been responsible for attending all of the library board meetings and preparing the minutes to post them to the public forum. Also, she has led new employees through their orientation and prepared entry and exit employee paperwork. She has collected timesheets and travel documents as well as requisitioned supplies.
During her time there they have gone from four libraries to nine within the system.
“I’ve seen things change a lot through the years,” she said.
Her post-retirement plans include exercising and returning her focus to her art. She also plans to tackle her house one room at a time.
“I want to have time for me and not just running around,” she said.
Kadhum shared her gratitude for her time in Morgan County.
“I want to say thank you to this community and to the Madison citizens for embracing me when I came here as a 23-year-old Cuban city girl,” she said. “I felt really welcomed and embraced by this community.”
Another employee embraced by this community is Cheryl Rogers.
Schaefer said that Rogers came to work for him 15 years ago to do a job that none of his other employees wanted to do.
“Cheryl is meticulous and very detail oriented,” he said. “She does exacting, tough, and boring work putting together reports and statistics.”
Rogers has spent 37 years as a librarian in multiple library services since beginning this line of work in 1976.
She received her undergraduate degree from St. Augustines College in Raleigh, N.C. and received her master’s degree in Library Sciences from Atlanta University.
She worked for 10 years at Atlanta-Fulton County Library Services, then for Southeastern Library Network.
While at the consortium she led 10 libraries in the Southeastern U.S. and the Caribbean when they converted from card catalogs to online catalogs. She also did all of their training for that transition.
Next she worked at the state library, which is where she was when she approached Schaefer and told him she was ready for another job, Schaefer said. It just so happened that they had an opening at the regional office here in Madison.
For the past 15 years she has held several responsibilities as Senior Administrative Librarian.
She ensures all staff has training to keep their licenses. She does similar work with the library trustees to help them meet state law regarding training requirements.
She puts together a newsletter to keep everyone informed about the libraries.
In 1999 she established Staff Development Day to bring together staff from eight facilities in six counties to give staff a chance to know one another and to train together in a particular area.
She also puts together their annual report, which is their mechanism for receiving state money. Add to that the responsibility of making sure local money comes in and you have a clearer picture of all that she does.
“You have to keep these things going,” she said. “We’ve accomplished a lot since I’ve been here.”
She said that she has liked all of the tasks but training has been special to her.
“The training part has always been a special part for me,” she said. “I like that part.”
She added that she has enjoyed working with all of the libraries.
“I’m happy to say I’m leaving on such a high note,” she said. “It will make my retirement that much better.”
Post-retirement she plans to take it easy – at least at first.
“I want to take a year and just do things for me,” she said, adding that she wants to travel. Montreal and Paris are on her to-see list.