ROCK SPRINGS — Since it opened, White Mountain Library has had one consistent presence: Youth Services Manager Vicki Riley.
Riley, or Miss Vicki as the kids call her, has worked for the library system for 38 years — first at the library at C Street, and then at White Mountain Library when it opened in 1987. But Vicki’s tenure with the library is coming to an end as she has announced her retirement.
To help Vicki celebrate and to honor her service to the library system, the public is invited to a retirement reception from 1-3 p.m. Thursday, May 30, at White Mountain Library, 2935 Sweetwater Drive in Rock Springs.
Libraries have always been a part of Vicki’s life. She worked as a library assistant in high school, worked in a library in college, and worked at a library in Wheatland before joining the Sweetwater County Library System. But the libraries have changed a lot from when Vicki first was employed. Card catalogs disappeared, replaced by an online catalog. Computers have replaced typewriters. E-books and digital audiobooks have emerged.
“We have tried to keep up with the needs of the community,” Vicki said.
When White Mountain Library first opened in 1987, there weren’t many houses in the area. Now, the library is in the middle of a neighborhood. Programs were different as well.
“There weren’t as many preschools then, so we were here to help out the community — and we’re still doing that,” Vicki said.
Reflecting on her time with the library, Vicki said that there’s no question about what she will miss the most: the people. “I will really miss the kids especially.”
And the kids will miss her. Over the years, some Vicki’s Story Time kids have returned as adults with their own children and in some cases with their grandchildren. Breezy Cukale, the library’s public relations assistant, was one of Vicki’s Story Time kids.
“I’ve known Miss Vicki my whole life. She read to me in Story Time. She helped me find new books and encouraged my crazy summer reading goals,” Cukale said. “She always made me feel at home in the library and really cemented my love of reading. Later, she gave me my first job in the same library where we ‘shook our sillies’ years before. Seeing her interact with the kids made me realize just how much of an impact she has made. She didn’t just help shape my life, she’s helped shaped our whole community.”
The staff at the library will also miss her presence. Assistant Library Director Michelle Krmpotich has worked with Vicki for 17 years.
“Vicki has given an extraordinary amount of time, energy and talent to the library system and to the children and families of Sweetwater County,” Krmpotich said. “She has passed on her love of reading to generations of families, and she has shared her passion of library work by mentoring other youth services librarians.”
In retirement, Vicki plans to do some things she hasn’t had time to do: travel, take some classes and finish sewing projects.
“I also like that I won’t have to even step outside on days that it’s snowing,” she said.
In the end, Vicki said she has loved her time at the library. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and will cherish it forever.”