Hortonville library director retires with laughter
By John Faucher
Hortonville Library Director Carolyn Habeck has sat in on village board meetings and budget talks for the past 32 years.
Her calm demeanor came accompanied by her tact for humor and a well-timed word at her final village board meeting on Thursday, Oct. 20.
Village President Traci Martens recognized Habeck with a special presentation during the meeting.
The board and audience members applauded as Martens extended a hug and presented Habeck with a plaque for her 32 years of service.
Habeck paused and waited for the applause to fade.
“I’d like to thank all of you and I’d especially like to thank everybody for setting the budget meeting for after I’m done,” said Habeck as the room burst into laughter.
Village Administrator Dianne Wessel waited until the room calmed, turned to Habeck and said, “Actually we’re moving them up to…” and the room lit up again in laughter.
Martens joined in on the roasting.
“We thought that’s why you chose the last day, because the budget meeting was the following week,” said Martens.
“When I chose the last day, I figured I’d get in on them yet this year,” replied Habeck. “But you are all so nice to me,” she said as the room filled with more laughter and applause.
Habeck then reflected on her career.
“The budget was the worst part,” said Habeck with a calm demeanor and her familiar smile. “So if that was the worst part in the entire 32 years, I guess that’s fine, right?”
Habeck said she felt very lucky have worked for the library for 32 years. Her career allowed her to get to know the community in a much different way than most people are able to.
“I’ve seen newborn children come with their moms and dads to the library, seen them grow over the years and then return as a new mom or dad bringing their newborn. It has truly been a precious circle of life that I will be ever grateful for,” said Habeck.
The village held a retirement celebration at the library on Oct. 24.
Visitors and well-wishers were still streaming into the library until her last day, Oct. 26.
On Tuesday, Habeck’s second to last day, June Olk was one of many visitors that stopped in to wish Carolyn the best.
“Everybody deserves to retire at some point,” said Olk.
She asked Habeck what some of her plans were after retiring.
Habeck said her husband Al has been retired for three years now.
“I recently took a couple days off to practice retiring,” said Habeck with a laugh. “I made a pirate costume for my granddaughter.”
Habeck has two grandchildren, Alayna and Addie. She told Olk that in addition to spending more time with family, she would like to get back to her sewing.
Habeck has a sewing room at her house. She learned to sew when she was eight.
“I love sewing, but in the last few years I haven’t spent much time in the sewing room,” she said.
In the past, she enjoyed making clothing, dolls, wedding and bridesmaid dresses.
“I’d like to get back to it,” she said. “The last few years were just really busy.”
Habeck oversaw the modern transition of the library into the new Village Municipal Center in 2014-15.
Since its opening, circulation and usage numbers skyrocketed at the new library.
Habeck has seen many positive changes in the village, including the old library building come down and the site turned into the beginnings of the future Memorial Square.
“My time here has been the most rewarding, challenging and exhilarating of my professional life,” she said. “I have been honored to work with passionate people who invest in making our community an even better place to live, work and play. I am enormously proud of the work we have done together.”