Ruth Caldwell Steps Down at Library

Marlena Cannon

Librarian Emeritus. Retired but not leaving. Ruth Caldwell, in a letter to library volunteers, has said that she will be doing less at the Oakmont library in what she called “the best volunteer job I ever had.”

With that decision it’s natural to look back at what she’s done.

While her humble personality might say that it really wasn’t anything particularly special, the members of the Library Steering Committee tell a different story.

            “Ruth is as much of a treasure as our collection of books,” says Toni Novoa who will take over many of the tasks that Ruth has routinely done. “Her knowledge of Oakmont is encyclopedic.”

Jeanne DeJoseph agrees and talks about Ruth’s incredible role in the ever-changing library history. Changes in the physical space. Changes in the Oakmont Board of Directors and the OVA staff. And, through it all, Ruth and close friend Dee Fannin were the steady visionaries who lobbied for a space in the Central Activity Center, helped design the layout and organized the transfer of the library collection. No easy feat.

And now there is change again. DeJoseph sees this chapter as a time where the structure and procedures that have been established will serve as the safety net for future decisions. “Ruth, like a good reference librarian, has pointed us all in the right direction to ensure we have what we will need going forward.”

“Ruth and her team have created an asset for our community that is the envy of other senior communities in the state,” says Julie Jones, Steering Committee member. “Oakmont residents should be proud of what we have.”

What’s unique, according to all three committee members, is Ruth’s singular commitment to accessibility – to organize the library and its collection in whatever way makes it easiest for people to find what they are looking for.

The most recent change is the perfect example – the installation of the new library door that swings into the hallway, making it easier for residents in wheelchairs to come inside.

It is often said that as one door closes another one opens. In this context, let it be that it opens both for the library and for Ruth.