Two Harbors Public Library assistant Becky Norlien retired Friday, April 30. Norlien spent the past 20 years connecting people to the information they sought.
"That's what I really loved about the job," Norlien said. "Connecting people with what they want, connecting people with how to do stuff. Whether it's for a serious need or for pleasure, I really love making connections for people."
She got to know several regulars who came into the library often and said she started to develop a sense of what they'd like to read or watch.
"That way I could help suggest things or point them to a resources like NoveList, which would help them find exactly what they were looking for," Norlien said. "And there were some regulars who came here the entire 20 years I've worked here."
Norlien came to the THPL in 1999, but it was far from her first experience with library work. She first developed a love for the job as she worked as a student assistant at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Following graduation, she worked as a library aide in Ramsey County for nine years before she decided she needed to move close to Lake Superior again.
When she accepted a job with the Environmental Protection Agency reference library, she saw her opportunity to move to the shore and took it. Before long, she found the position at Two Harbors and has stayed in town ever since.
What does Norlien love about libraries?
"They're just such cool places," Norlien said. "Everybody can find something they need at the library. It's this whole idea that information should be available to everybody. And you don't need to buy everything - we can share."
Norlien has also been the go-to person for database searching for several years at the library. If there's a book that's a bit tricky to find, she could probably make it turn up.
"That's why it feels like such a tradeoff to leave," Norlien said. "They're losing my experience in some areas. But whoever they get in to take the job will offer a fresh perspective and will likely be more willing to take on new technology. So it's a mixed feeling."
As for Norlien's retirement plans, she doesn't have anything too firm in the works. She plans to take time to "see how things shake out." Though short term, she plans on getting together with people, going out in her kayak and doing some camping.