A large crowd gathered in the children’s room of the Hopkinton Public Library on Jan. 14 as patrons, both young and old, gathered to wish children’s librarian Denise Kofron farewell. Kofron, affectionately known as “Mrs. K,” will retire at the end of January.
Kofron, described by Library Director Heather Backman as an “intensely dedicated, committed, passionate and knowledgeable librarian” came to Hopkinton 12 years ago. She is a graduate of Emmanuel College and holds a master’s degree in library science from Simmons University. While she has worked at other libraries in the area, including the Framingham Union Hospital and Southborough libraries, most of her work has involved children.
And the kids are what Kofron says she will miss the most. “The kids, definitely,” said Kofron, “and the reading.”
She also enjoyed her role as a reading adviser, helping people find something to read and steering them toward what she felt would be the most fulfilling. Asked about special moments she would always remember, Kofron said her best day was when a parent or child would return to the library after reading a recommended book saying it was the best book ever.
At the reception in her honor, Backman said Kofron has probably helped thousands of children, and followed many from their kindergarten days through high school, building wonderful relationships along the way. She also applauded Kofron’s ability to locate books.
“She does not need a computer,” said Backman, “but can walk you to the stacks. She does not need the library catalog; she is the library catalog.”
Some of Kofron’s favorite books include picture books that she describes as the most wonderful invention that help to build literacy. She also is a huge Harry Potter fan.
Some of her fondest memories of working in Hopkinton include the Marathon Reading Program sponsored by the 26.2 Foundation that allowed children, parents, and senior citizens to earn points, badges and recognition for reading 26 items of their choice, and helping reluctant readers learn to read through the use of audio books.
“We have a really good group here,” Kofron said, referring to the library staff. “The most integral part of a library goes home at night.”
Ending the formal part of the program before the cake cutting and snacks were served, Backman presented Kofron with a memory book compiled by the library staff that contains comments, wishes and memories from a variety of library patrons. She said anyone wishing to add comments can do so through the end of the month.
“I’ve had a wonderful 12 years here,” Kofron told the crowd gathered to wish her well. “I’ve enjoyed every single minute of it. I’ve loved seeing your children grow up.”
In her retirement, Kofron plans to travel, spend more time with her grandchildren, and take some lifelong learning courses.
“Then I can decide what I’m going to be when I grow up,” Kofron said.