Melanie Griffey is a petite woman with a warm presence and a ready smile. As a 43 year veteran teacher of Kindergarteners, and first and second graders, she gives new meaning to the term "retired." On Tuesdays she offers her considerable skills at the Plaza branch. She also volunteers with Children's Centers for the Visually Impaired teaching visually impaired children, The Children's Place (with the 4 year olds) and on Wednesdays she and her husband fill backpacks for Harvesters.
I was at Plaza Tuesday morning preparing to make popcorn—my official post at Ron Freeman's science program—when I had time for a brief chat with Melanie. Melanie was busy with her first task of the day, wiping off all the toys with Clorox wipes.
KT: Haven't you been here three years now?
MG: I think so. Being retired, I lose track of time.
KT: We are so happy to have you. Why did you choose the library?
MG: When I retired I knew I wanted to stay connected to kids and books and it was a no brainer to see if there was a need here at the Plaza children's section.
KT: What do you do here?
MG: Anything they want me to do. I usually start with the toys and then do the children's POSH [Pull On Shelf Holds] list. Sometimes I cut things out or get supplies together to support the pre-school story hour and craft activities.
Over 100 kids and their caregivers came to the library that morning shooting marshmallows, building marble runs, and setting off rockets. Melanie was unphased by the chaos. As I stood in a pool of spent kernels I looked over to see her fixated on the POSH list and watched as she placed each book in its exact spot on the shelf.
MG: I feel so privileged to have found great things to do in my retirement.
No, Melanie, the privilege is ours.
About the Author
Katie Taylor is a Development Associate and volunteer coordinator for the Kansas City Public Library.