By Travis Smola
Long-time library and community supporter Nancy Rafferty got quite a surprise at a special dedication ceremony held at the Schoolcraft library to thank her for contributions to the community.
“I’m absolutely flabbergasted,” Rafferty said after the ceremony which drew about 40 people who knew about it in advance. Library director Faye VanRavenswaay and former director Bobbi Truesdell helped host the celebration in which a bird bath in the library garden was dedicated to Rafferty.
“You are always about others, never about yourself,” Truesdell said of Rafferty during the dedication. “You have touched the lives of so many in our community.”
Rafferty was on the original board of trustees and served as a school librarian and English and history teacher at area schools for over 25 years. But she is probably best known for the time she contributes reading to children at area schools, something she still does for first, second and third graders.
Marilyn Jones read a poem praising her friend’s contributions to the community during the ceremony. “Anything with learning, she doesn’t want to miss,” Jones said. “I’ve never seen her without a smile and I’m proud to say she’s a friend for all.”
Jones praised how Rafferty has often helped area children as well. “She’s guided and helped so many boys and girls, often with the help of a book,” Jones said.
In addition to the dedication of the bird bath, Rafferty was presented with a watering can to fill it with. Also presented to her was a copy of the children’s book “The Cloud Spinner” by Michael Catchpool and Alison Jay.
As a special treat for Rafferty, people in attendance were asked to sign the book with personal messages for Rafferty before the ceremony. Rafferty then read the book aloud much to the joy of those in attendance. VanRavenswaay praised her for telling the story with the gusto that has come to be expected from area children.
“I tend to be a little dramatic,” Rafferty said, adding that working with books and children has always been the living of a dream for her. She was both surprised and thankful to be able to share in the celebration with her family and friends.
“This is just a marvelous thing!” she concluded.