The Children’s Department at the Deer Park Public Library worked with the family of late Head of Children’s Services Kathi P. Greer to create a beautiful Reading Corner to honor her years of dedicated service not only to the Deer Park community, but to all of the lives that she touched both professionally and personally over the course of her lifetime.
Using donations collected by the community in Kathi’s name, this vivid and playful artwork was created in acrylic form by a friend of the Greer family. Kathi’s daughter, Kimi, worked with the children’s staff at Deer Park to bring her vision honoring her mother to life in a way that perfectly captured the simple and elegant beauty of Kathi’s personality.
Using artwork from one of Kathi’s favorite books – Chicka Chicka Boom Boom – a tree was created to “drop roots” and anchor the space together. A comfortable love seat is perfectly situated at the bottom of the tree, next to a beautiful book cart painted by one of Kathi’s nieces, and stocked with copies of her favorite picture books for families to sit and share together.
Kathi’s husband George began the day by reading a touching and heartfelt tribute to his wife, noting how she was always on the look out for the “perfect prop” or decoration that could be used for a program or the summer reading program at the library. The Deer Park children’s staff shared a good laugh with George when they reminded him that the pretty silver baskets adorning the top of the children’s reference desk were once gold, but that Kathi had convinced George to spray paint them silver instead. Everything that Kathi created and touched could still be felt in the department. I overhead a guest say to Kimi “If I just happened to stumble upon this library without knowing your mom had worked here, I would instantly know when I saw the children’s department because her style and vision are everywhere.”
Children attending the celebration hit the jackpot with candy kaleidoscopes, rainbow stickers, pencils, colorful dream bags and baseball caps to decorate, and more.
Kathi’s family, friends, and colleagues entertained the crowd at varying points of the nearly day long celebration with readings from some of her favorite stories – including her sister reading Kevin Henke’s Chrysanthemum.
The day was a perfect blend of all things Kathi: mom, wife, librarian, and mentor. Kathi did not like the spotlight to shine on herself, preferring to push others out onto the stage as she watched proudly from the sidelines; but she was oh- so-deserving of this day, because she gave so much, and so freely, to others.
- Kathi’s greatest and best legacy: her family. Pictured are son Matthew, husband George, daughter Kimberly, and son Jonathon.
She knew when to listen, when to give advice, and when to give a gentle motherly push in what she knew was the right direction; even if you weren’t so sure yourself at the time. As someone who received many a Kathi “push” over the years, I know that the best thing I can do to honor her memory is to keep pushing new children’s librarians as they enter this field to do the very best job that they can;to promote the early literacy programs and services that Kathi endlessly championed throughout her career; and to always, always remember that I wouldn’t be anywhere today professionally if it wasn’t for her wisdom and guidance. She will always be loved, and missed, by everyone who was lucky to have crossed her path.