OKANOGAN - Longtime Omak librarian Sharon Reddick is retiring at the end of January after 30 years with the library.

She began in January 1990, when she replaced former head librarian Judy Hook at her retirement.

The Omak Library Foundation Board President Donna Sanford, wanting to honor Reddick for her service, yet realizing that COVID-19 restrictions limit the options, asked Reddick what she would like.

Reddick suggested a basket at the library for people to drop off cards, notes and messages “so that I can have keepsakes of what the library has meant to them during my time here.”

During January, the Omak Library Foundation Board encourages people to stop by the library with messages, notes, pictures, poems, letters and so on for Reddick’s basket.

Reddick and her husband, Ned Chilmonik, plan to relocate to his hometown of St. Petersburg, Fla., in April or May. The move will get them closer to their daughter, Nadia, who is lives and works in New York.

Reddick said what she enjoyed most about working in the library was the ability to work with and help people. What she didn’t enjoy was that COVID-19 put a damper on contact with library users, and stopped work of the Literacy Council since one-on-one meetings could no longer happen safely.

She attributes her understanding and appreciation of Hispanic culture in part to the council and to her contact with Latino library users. She said she hopes it won’t be long before the Literacy Council will be able to continue its work engaging learning and language.

Another thing she will miss is the summer reading program.

“I loved seeing the kids in our community having fun and reading for fun,” she said.

Also special were the times spent introducing the summer reading program to the schools each year.

The Omak Public Library, part of NCW Libraries, will be in good hands with the hiring of Alyssa Collins as the new head librarian, said Reddick.

Collins will come to Omak from Salem, Ore., with a master’s degree in library science and an excitement for programming and serving the public, said Reddick.

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