Bullard retires after 25 years of service at Troy Public Library

Published 10:40 am Thursday, March 1, 2018

Troy Public Library Assistant Director Karen Bullard just wanted to walk out of the Troy Public Library Wednesday like she had done so many other days over that past 25 years.

But it was not just any other day. It was Bullard’s retirement day and it was going to be emotional.

The library hosted a retirement party for Bullard Wednesday in recognition and in honor of her longtime tenure. Although Bullard retired with 25 years, she volunteered at the library and worked part-time for five years previous to her full-time employment. And, it was a great hire, said William White, TPL director.

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“It is hard to define what Karen means to me in a single sentence or paragraph,” White said. “From the day I began she has always been my biggest supporter and has always believed in me even when I questioned myself. She’s more than a coworker or friend, I consider her my family. I hate to see her go but I understand that she is ready to retire. She has been a public servant for 30 years, she deserves it. I wish her nothing but the best.”

White joins the many who will miss Bullard and the expertise she so willingly shares.

Around this area, the name Karen Bullard and genealogy are synonymous.

For 25 years, she has been the TPL’s on-staff genealogist.

Bullard has dedicated much of her career as a librarian to genealogy, which she considers a treasure trove for those who seek the past and find it.

“Genealogy is a treasure,” she said. “It is the history of families and of communities. For me, working with those who seek those treasures has been a wonderful privilege. I have gotten to know so many people here at home and from all across the country. I have delighted in seeing their excitement when they discover a piece of the puzzle they have been searching for or a piece they didn’t even know existed. I get almost as excited as they do when they make those connections.”

On a personal level, Bullard knows the thrill and excitement of making family connections. So, she is dedicated to helping others connect with their pasts.

“I was an adult before I really became interested in genealogy,” Bullard said. “My mother tried to get me interested and I did enjoy going with her to visit family members. We would sit around the kitchen table and have iced tea and cake and talk. That’s how so much of our history is passed down, through the oral tradition.”

And, it was around those kitchen tables that Bullard was bitten by the genealogy bug. Today, she has 12 binders of her family history and her research continues. She welcomes the coming possibility of time to do research and compile it for those who share her interest in genealogy and want to know more “and more.”

As much as she will miss walking through the doors of the TPL each day and as much as she will miss the daily interaction with the staff, the patrons and the seekers of the past, Bullard said, “It’s time.”

“First, I’m going to clean the house,” she said with a smile. “Then, I’ll enjoy being on the farm. Harry and I will have time to do things together, going fishing and feeding the cows. I enjoy quilting. I’m an avid reader, especially light mysteries.

“But, I’m not stopping the library cold turkey. I’ll be back. First, as a volunteer and, maybe, later part-time. I have enjoyed every day of being here. These people are my family. I’m not going away. The library means too much to me to do that.”