Janice Sherman has done much and more while employed as the director of the Morton Public Library.

After 36 years with the library, she is throwing in the towel and heading off into retirement. Sherman will be retiring June 30.

Janice Sherman has done much and more while employed as the director of the Morton Public Library.

After 36 years with the library, she is throwing in the towel and heading off into retirement. Sherman will be retiring June 30.

“When young people ask me how I stayed in this job for so many years, I say the job didn’t stay the same. The position stayed the same, but the job changed,” Sherman said.

During her time as director, the library has undergone several changes to adapt to the modern age with 

Sherman and the board at the forefront.

Before a personal computer was in every household, the library board purchased one of the first Macintosh computers to have the library’s collection information stored digitally.

“To have the board be willing and open to new trends in libraries and willing to be on board was just so supportive,” Sherman said.

This was just one of the changes to take place during her more than three decades of service.

In 1979, when Sherman was first hired as the director, the library was located on Main Street in a store front across the street from the Dairy Queen. With her knowledge of building projects, Sherman said the board was looking for someone who knew what to do when time for expansion came.

“The board has purchased this land and wanted someone who could handle a building project and I was fortunate to have experience in writing a building project with a team,” Sherman said.

Just three years later, in 1982, the ribbon cutting was held for the library’s current location at 315 W. Pershing St., a plot of land just under 5 acres.

The latest addition was built in May 1, 1998, which doubled the size of the library.

Building size wasn’t the only thing to have changed during Sherman’s legacy. Content had to be collected to fill the shelves. Books, digital media, magazines, reference guides and everything else was collected.

“Building a library collection is an art. We have basic skills and principals we learn in library school, but we’re still tailoring the collection to the community that we live in and that we serve and every community has more diversity in it than most people realize,” Sherman said. “It’s always a balancing act of having a limited materials budget and selecting from everything that’s produced.”

The library’s first Macintosh was a step in the right direction, but collecting the information and transferring it into a digital catalog was a task in itself, but a necessary one.

“We first put our items on computer in the early ‘80s. In 1984 we started with our computer system,” Sherman said.

With the help of about 30-40 volunteers, the catalog was completed and the Morton Library was networked with other libraries. 

The process of sharing materials with other libraries once took two to three weeks, but in the computer age, books from across the country can make it to Morton in about three days.

Computers and the books themselves are an important aspect to the functioning of a library, but Sherman said the key component is the staff itself.

“The most important resource the library has is the staff members. We have a wonderful collection. We have a wonderful amount of computers and technology, but the staff are crucial in learning to use technology and helping people find what they need,” Sherman said.

“In the future, we will still need that personal intermediary and that’s the role librarians can play.”

While attending college to earn her Masters of Library Science degree at Rosary College in Riverton, Sherman said her view of the library’s role changed.

“As a result of the library classes I took, I came to realize the library has a really strong role to play in the community and helping community development and helping education in formal and informal ways,” Sherman said.

And this view was not lost on serving the Morton community.

“I’ve been blessed to have a wonderful career, wonderful coworkers, a wonderful community to get to know and work with and it’s been great,” Sherman said.