Librarian Steighner to retire

Children’s party planned for Aug. 17

She had been sharing her love of reading with her young son, and then thought about sharing that love with other children. That was the initial enticement that drew veteran children’s librarian Hillary Steighner to apply for the children’s librarian position with the Hood River County Library back in 1987.

Since then, Steighner has served children of our county with that love of books, weathering the interim closure of the library and allowing her to assist in its triumphant return through community support.

Friday, Aug. 17, will mark the end of Steighner’s current career, but not her love of the written word.

A celebration, to be held in the children’s library, will bring help recognize Steighner’s service and allow her to, as she said, “Go out with an Aargh!”

The growl is a reference to the pirate-themed event beginning at 2 p.m., which will provide for a child-focused celebration, featuring a treasure hunt, ice cream cones and live pirate musicians who will encourage some hearty sing-alongs.

The Bilgerats and the Pyrettes will be the featured musical minstrels, and everyone will have a chance for prizes if they dress up in costume.

For Steighner, the life-long dedication to the library is one she plans to treasure forever.

“One of the best days of my time here was the day the library reopened after it had been closed for a year. The children streamed down the stairs on that day. Those books, which had been sitting unused for a year, were snapped off the shelves and it was wonderful,” said Steighner.

When asked how the library remains relevant in this day of Internet-based information, Steighner said, “It just opens up a whole world for everyone. The information — the books — it all teaches us how to get into someone else’s situation. This is so important for kids to be exposed to.

“It is particularly important for those who don’t have access. It is part of how we can create success for those kids.

“Really, it is the heart of our democracy and our community.”

Never afraid of taking on new ideas, Steighner has found it interesting and exciting to take on the changes and challenges of every new decade, including the new technologies.

“I started out hand-typing every catalogue card. We now have all of these electronic resources. We are about serving people in the way that is appropriate for whatever time we are in.

“Mostly, I am grateful for the wonderful community here ... working closely with the staff — they have always been really great people. I’m just so grateful for the opportunity to work here for so many years.”

Steighner knows that this will not be the end of her relationship with the library and staff.

“I plan on returning regularly as a patron.”

Stepping into Steighner’s shoes, Jana Hannigan plans to carry on the warm, welcoming and enthusiastic leadership of the children’s library for years to come.

An Aug. 17 pirate-themed party, 2-3 p.m. is open to celebrate the end of summer reading and Steighner’s departure.

Families and f riends are invited to drop anchor in costume and enjoy the pirate snacks.

Upon retirement Steighner hopes to revisit a favorite pastime, now that she will have a bit more free time. Look for her in one of the many, comfy reading areas inside the welcoming facility she helped to shepherd.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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