Sue Carlson retiring from library after three decades. 

May 17, 2022

Sue Carlson

Sue Carlson retiring from library after three decades. 

By Kate Krieger, MCP Staff Writer

Around the County is a presentation of Preferred Credit Union, www.preferredcu.org, located locally at 266 N. Jebavy Dr., Ludington.

A retirement party will be held for the public from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18 at the Ludington branch of the Mason County District Library. 

LUDINGTON – With nearly 33 years at the local public libraries, Sue Carlson is retiring. Carlson was originally hired by the Ludington Public Library in 1989. The district library, combining the Mason County Library in Scottville and the Ludington Public Library, was formed in 1994, when she was named assistant director. Through the years she has served as teen librarian, head of youth services, and acting director. 

Carlson, a native of Ludington, graduated from Ludington High School and then received a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University. Involved in almost all aspects of the two libraries, she has many memories from her job, but certain memories stand out in her mind.

“I got to meet a lot of great people,” she said. “I have worked with amazing people. I loved the fun events like New Year’s Eve parties, Friday Night Live, science camp, field trips to the Ludington State Park and snowshoeing with kids in the library’s back yard.”

Although Carlson has worked with all ages at the library, she will most likely be missed the most by the hundreds of children and families who visit the library’s children’s section and story times. Carlson has introduced hundreds of new books to these families and many can say that she has helped instill the love for reading in their homes as well, something that is very near and dear to her heart. With more and more research coming out about the importance of early literacy, Carlson has been very dedicated to this primary principle that her job has been centered around. She said families and children are affected by her role the most and she really has been trying for years to educate and to continue to keep early literacy information as one of the main focal points for the Mason County District Library.

“A functioning democracy depends on a literate electorate,” she said. “Literacy and critical thinking skills are essential to voters making informed decisions. Your child’s literacy will affect their whole future. Our world requires a sophisticated understanding of nuance and subtlety. Influencers of various kinds are increasingly successful at attracting followers and guiding ideas. People need to understand the difference between fact and fancy at a time when the deceptions have become incredibly dense, detailed and sophisticated. Literacy is the first step toward critical thinking. Early literacy is just the beginning, but that foundation is essential to growth as a reader. MCDL, along with parents and educators, can help to provide that foundation.”

Emily Garland, co-worker of Carlson’s and youth librarian for MCDL agreed with Carlson on many topics relating to early literacy and providing all families the access to books and programs to help children grow into great readers, but she also said that Carlson’s efforts to instill the love of reading won’t waiver after she retires.

“The Mason County District Library would not be the welcoming, engaging place it is now without Sue and her leadership over the last three decades,” she said. “We endeavor to follow her footsteps and continue to look to the future of libraries, while she enjoys more time with her family.”

Carlson said she has no doubt that the programs she has started or has taken to new levels will not be overlooked once she has retired.

“Filling my position is a work.  In progress,” she said. “As far as the kid stuff, Emily (Garland) is a fantastic Youth Services Director. She’s incredible.” As for her retirement, Carlson has much planned after she leaves her day job with the MCDL.

“I and going to enjoy the outdoors in the daylight,” Carlson said laughingly. “I enjoy biking, hiking, kayaking and I’m looking forward to time with my family.”

Of all things she accomplished in almost 33 years, Carlson stated that she will miss doing story time the most.

“Children’s literacy is very important to me,” she said. “I spend quite a bit of time thinking about and studying how children learn and how their brains grow. Our preschool story time is specifically designed to grow children’s brains. I mean physical brain growth. When you can light up different areas of the brain, you can create connections between brain cells. So, story time incorporates reading, music rhyming, dancing (large muscle movement), finger plays (small muscle movement), art, math; both logic and geometry, and memorization as well as social/emotional learning. When your child attends Mason County District Library story time, that child is experiencing brain growth. Dendrites are forming.

“What an amazing, dedicated group of people I got to work with,” Carlson said. “Everyone here is passionate about uniting readers with the information they seek. This is a lovely community full of readers. It has been a privilege to work with so many local children, sharing a love of books and reading.”

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