By Marianne Mueller


ROCKTON – Throughout the history of Talcott Library only six librarians have been at the helm. W.W. Austin was originally a teacher who served as head librarian from 1889-1891. Mary Forward followed during a 36-year term running 1901-1936. Hilda Prag was well known in her 25 tenure from 1937-1964. Marion Hopkins was a familiar face for 13 years holding her position from 1936 and 1964-1975. Margaret Eddie held a post from 1975-1986.

Bonnie Estrada has greeted patrons while serving as Library Director since 1986. After 29 dedicated years of dedicated service she is retiring from her position. Library staff, patrons, friends, family and the community joined in reflecting on positive  memories and wished Estrada a fond farewell during  a reception held on Monday evening, Aug. 24.

Library Board President Gary Kovanda made a touching, and heartfelt presentation.

“It is remarkable when somebody is in a position for 29 years as our Director. She was an outstanding leader for the library. Her greatest accomplishment is the assembly of the great staff that we have. It is truly a reflection of the person in charge. She was the face of Talcott Library, not only because of her competent leadership but also because of her warm personality. We could not have asked for anything more,” lauded Kovanda.

Kovanda followed by giving Estrada with a stunningly detailed water color portrait of Talcott Library done by artist, Martha Marion. A scrapbook outlining years of fun and accomplishments was created for Estrada. Guests had an opportunity to leave a personalized note expressing gratitude of the many talents, kindnesses, and outpouring of love for the community that Estrada has displayed during her tenure.

Staff members fondly looked back on the experience of working with Bonnie Estrada: Jane Newcomb started at Talcott Library the same year as Estrada.

“Bonnie was always supportive of everything and anything that would improve the library. She was enthusiastic about trying new things. Bonnie never undertakes something unless she does it 100 percent, “said Newcomb.

“Working for Bonnie has always been a very comfortable environment. She exudes warmth, and has an optimistic, upbeat personality.”

Mary Lou Sprague began teaching computer classes at the library after a chance meeting eight years ago.

“I was on a bus trip to Janesville and talking about doing my computer classes at the Beloit Senior Center. When Bonnie heard me visiting about my class she asked me if I would be interested in teaching at the library,” said Sprague. “You can go to Bonnie with any question. It has been fun and we are all like family here,” Sprague shared. ”

Marianne Stenzel has worked with Bonnie since 1997.

“When I started here I was hired to work in the children’s room. I wasn’t quite sure what that entailed,” said Stenzel. “Bonnie was so generous and trusting of me both in the children’s room and beyond.

“She allowed me to plan programs, to order materials for the children’s room, and to develop projects without much hesitation. I will forever be grateful for all of her support in everything that I have ever asked her to try.

“She is never beyond taking a role in helping with events such as kids programs, assisting with crafts or taking part in the summer reading program pizza party. She isn’t your boss, she is a co-worker. There are not too many people who can say that they love their jobs. It has been a wonderful experience.

“The fact that Bonnie is only the sixth Director in the library’s history is a statement to the atmosphere of the library,” added Stenzel.

Before her journey began at Talcott Library Estrada’s interest of library work developed when she was in high school. Estrada studied Speech Therapy at Illinois State. While living in Milwaukee she was a Special Education teacher.

When Estrada’s husband Bob was in the service they lived in Germany for a couple of years. Her husband Bob was offered a job back in the states. Bonnie then went to work in a bank in Denver Colorado.

After moving to Rockton Estrada stopped into Talcott Library to find out what children’s programs were available. When told of a volunteer opportunity she jumped at the chance.

Bonnie worked at the Talcott Library’s story hour sponsored by the Hononegah Woman’s Club and things evolved from there.

Bonnie Estrada was the first to be honored with the Rockton Chamber of Commerce Woman of Excellence Award in 2013.

“Over the years it has been a challenge, it has been fun and I have learned a lot. I have seen a lot of changes in patrons, staff, and technology” Estrada said. “I have been very lucky to have held this position, she adds.

Estrada’s future plans include an option of extending her time of working at the library. She will also continue her work with the Friends of Talcott Library and as a member of the Hononegah Woman’s Club.

Upon Estrada’s retirement Megan Gove will step into the position of Director of Talcott Free Library.














Coutesy photo

The full staff of Talcott Library was on hand at a farewell reception held on Aug. 24. Pictured are:Lisa Jolly, Jan Cuthberson, Jane Newcomb, Jennifer Maine, Marianne Stenzel, Kristie Dantuma, Lori Dantuma, Mary Lou Sprague,Peggy Jencius, Bonnie Estrada, Linda Blair, Dana Peterson, Alice Walker, Megan Gove and Mary Edwards. See more photos on page 3.

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