Happy Trails to You — Ruth Appelhanz
I am so thankful for the wonderful working relationship we have had since day one when you became our new State Librarian. Being your secretary has been a very rewarding experience for me. I will miss working with you.
Happy trails to you — enjoy retirement!
Tribute to Christie Brandau — Roy Bird
Imagine our shock when, after 22 years with the only State Librarian some of us had ever known, in came Christie Pearson Brandau like a fresh Kansas zephyr. Like her Viking ancestors of yore, she burst upon the scene unexpectedly, changed the culture of librarianship in Kansas forever, and there was never a dull moment while she did so. She approached the State Library of Kansas like it was a tired old deck of playing cards, shuffling it, cutting it, and dealing out new hands more artfully than any casino blackjack dealer. Indeed, she turned my job description topsy-turvy — the result being a fresh, lively, youthful State Library.
At the same time, Christie changed libraries across Kansas. She revived stagnant programs and made them new. She introduced new programs about which many of us had only heard about, but never encountered. And she did this always with two prime directives: 1) keep the end user in mind; 2) make it fun. She did that by carrying her message out in some ways hitherto unseen by the natives of these parts. We’ll miss her joke file, her wigs, her bling and hats, and so much more. Librarianship at the State Library and across Kansas will never be the same. We don’t want it to be.
Listen to the Music! — Patti Butcher
Ok, I’ll admit it. Living with a musician makes me view life in terms of songs and bands and singers. So a few come to mind for this occasion: “Don’t stop (thinkin’ about tomorrow)” (Fleetwood Mac) or “Up-up and away” (5th Dimension), or maybe even “The times they are a’changin” (Bob Dylan). Those songs would describe the State Library of Kansas under Christie’s leadership.
Now that she’s leaving us to ride off into the sunset of quilting, gardening and grandkids – the songs that come to mind for me are “Crying” (Roy Orbison) or “Bad Moon Rising” (Credence Clearwater Revival). For that’s how I feel. I am sad to lose my boss – who is also a mentor, a friend and a fellow quilter.
I am so lucky to have been able to come back to Kansas – and Kansas libraries – and work with Christie to implement her vision of moving libraries forward, of focusing on the user, of making our services easy to use, and of using technology to reach users. For that, I will always be very grateful.
We have accomplished a great deal. We have lots more work to do. Christie has laid the foundation for our work to continue. And we will. But we will sure miss her fun, can-do approach and her good-hearted spirit while we do it!
I have actually written a rap as a tribute to Christie – but it will be performed “live” later in May. So it’s under wraps until then…… stay tuned!
A Loving Grandmother — Kathy Delong
To Christie, a very loving grandmother who likes to do things with her grandkids.
Lightening Up! — Marc Galbraith
One of the first things Christie said to me on arriving at the State Library was, “that place could use a little lightening up.” Well, we started lightening up that day and haven’t stopped yet.
We’ve lightened up the way we deliver services, taking information to Kansans that they want, when they want it and where they want it. Christie’s commitment to the philosophy that it’s our job to listen to the user and to take the library to them was never in doubt.
Christie also told us to lighten the wallets, purses and book bags of curious people everywhere, not by raising taxes, but by doing away with the need for user names and passwords. Christie told Kansans that the only pass they needed to access online library resources was to be a Kansan.
Christie worked with our Governor and the Kansas legislature to lighten the geographic and financial burden that separated thousands of Kansas students from the help they needed to be top-notch students. She did this by making Kansas one of the first states to offer one-to-one, online, real time homework help to students. Librarians, teachers and legislators have shared stories of student victories over homework help and the power and confidence that learning brings.
I know Christie has also helped lighten the load considerably for many professional, as well as back yard, auto mechanics, who no longer have to lug those hefty repair manuals under the hood. Now, any want-to-be tappet brother with a lap top can take Chilton’s to where the oil leak is.
Christie has lightened the challenge among library personnel to fulfill a seemingly endless desire to be ever better than they already are. By making a commitment to provide WebJunction and a variety of other convenient, cost-effective CE resources, Christie has helped library personnel stay on top of the changing world of library services.
Christie has even managed to lighten the physical being of many on her staff whom she sent to all points on the map. Christie said over and over again that putting our presence where libraries meet the public was part of her job. SLK staff have also been asked to present at state, regional, national and even international meetings. They talked about many topics, including the application of the latest in 2.0 technologies.
Of course Christie has also lightened up the way libraries fulfill the critical mission of telling about the wonderful things they do. She has used the airways, blogging, MySpace, about dozen new versions of “Kansas Libraries,” twittering and that wonderful new form of communication called the rap.
It has been a fast 4.5 years. It has also been a whole lot of fun, extremely rewarding and educational. And it has been something I’ll never forget.
A Driving Force — Kim Harp
Christie has been the driving force behind the amazing projects and services that the State Library has instigated these last few years. Without her support and tenacity, the State Library’s ideas and creativity would not have come to fruition. When staff has said, “I have an idea to make this better,” Christie was first on the bandwagon driving it forward. She pushed on from the get-go with new methodologies, shaking out the dust that had gathered in the corners here at the State Library. I will miss Christie’s persistence that helped me to develop and grow as a new librarian. I wish her luck and all the fun in the world in her retirement!
Unbelievable Progress — Toni Harrell
If someone had told us five years ago that we would be able to participate in a consortium to offer free downloadable audio books that are fully accessible to the visually impaired or otherwise physically challenged library users in Kansas, hold statewide meetings via quality video conferencing, gain legislative support for an increase in base funding to the Talking Book subregional system for the first time in more than fifteen years, obtain quality support of outreach efforts to raise awareness of available services and be in a position to offer a quality collection of digital titles in support of the National Library Services transition to the digital player, I would probably have said there is no way we can move that fast or that far forward in such a short amount of time.
And, did I mention the fantasy of giving patrons the ability to search and order books directly via an accessible OPAC, resource sharing projects, and having a presence via the web, Second Life, Facebook and Blogger (YouTube is coming soon).
Well, all of these have come to pass. And you may be asking yourself, how could all this be accomplished in only 4 1/2 years? Because! Christie is an encourager. She continually asks us to see how far we could stretch our imagination and make things happen – all in the name of equal access to quality library services to all Kansas residents. In some “families” they call that “making an offer we couldn’t refuse.” And somewhere along the line we found the time to laugh, sing, boogie, act and spread general merriment within the library community. It has been a blast – I wouldn’t have “missed the dance” for anything.
A Historic Library and an Exciting Librarian — Cindi Hickey
O.K. I work in a library that dates back to the 1890s and I’m pretty sure the carpeting was installed for the grand opening. My desk is located at the foot of the iron stairs – right where the public tours exit the glass floor. And – my office walls are masking tape on the floor – a little trick I learned from Les Nessman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Nessman).
There is no conference room so we collaborate in the foyer and do staff training in an online room. So why do I love to go to work? Christie Brandau.
Christie has encouraged me to extend myself – try new things like being a roadie for our traveling show and rapping for cash – we’re in the SLK Hood and we’re bad to the bone. (It just keeps going round and round in my head.) But it’s not all fun and games. Every year we have a cleaning day before the legislators return. This year I got the microwave – nothing a chisel and blow torch couldn’t handle.
Me – I’m lucky! I get the pleasure of working with WebJunction and Kansas librarians and trustees. We are trying new ways to extend training and development to everyone in the Kansas library community. The future is bright and all because Christie led the charge – I mean the change. As my colleague Patti Butcher says, “Change is hard – you go first.” Thank you, I will. “I have been coached by the best, Christie Brandau and I am ready!”
Look At It This Way — Jeff Hixon
Remember when you were a kid and discovered that everything familiar looks different if you stand on your head?
Up is down, left is right. None of the pieces are new, but the relationships mean something completely different. Sooner or later, all the blood rushes to your head, your lips go numb and little pink mice start running down (up?) your spine.
You right yourself, expecting to find everything back like it was before. But you can still see that topsy-turvy world, and somehow you know that it will always be there. Nothing is so familiar you can’t find a new way of looking at it. There’s always more than one way up.
If you’re shy, wait until no one is looking. Stand on your head and look at everything you think you understand. You may be surprised how much it makes you feel like a kid all over again.
The Tornado From Michigan — Bonnie Keim
Imagine our surprise when we were told that “within a couple of weeks you will dispose of 25% of everything in your cubicle.” We here in the library have always been “keepers of the documents” so how were we to rid ourselves of our most valuable possessions? Well, I guess they weren’t that valuable because we did it. The tornado from Michigan came through and wow what a job was done! We literally saw her go through, pick up a few items, and into the trash it went! We have gone through this process a couple of times since then, but never to that extreme, and we have come away with clean desks and a great work environment in which we could have pride.
I have gotten to know that tornado personally since that time and she is a very warm, compassionate person that has always told me, “family comes first.” She wants her employees to grow and learn and will give them all the tools to get that accomplished. She gives us encouragement to go for the gusto and gives us her hand if needed.
I had always told Christie that I was going to walk out the door right behind her. She made me promise her a couple of months ago that if she decided to leave I would stay behind and help the Interim Librarian and not leave that person in a pickle. I readily agreed, still thinking I would be long gone before she got ready to retire. Well, the surprise was on me and I guess I have to admit to being a little jealous.
Best wishes, Christie. Enjoy those grandbabies. I still think you are too young to retire!!!
New Adventures with a Persuasive Boss — Cindy Roupe
Christie Brandau is soooo persuasive, “she could sell snow to the Eskimos,” as my mother used to put it. Often I would find myself agreeing to a new venture, “Sure! I’ll do that!” and think later – whose voice was that who volunteered? But I learned so much when I ventured outside my area of expertise – Kansas Notable Books and now the IMLS grant on Connecting to Collections. For example, the tea parties for the statehouse docents were not just ordinary tea and cookies and visiting. I found myself dressing up (complete with ruffles and a squirrelly wig) for a first-person narrative of Populist State Librarian Annie Diggs! In the process of preparing for my “interview” with Christie, I learned so much about the place where I had worked for many years and the State Library’s evolution to the remarkable institution it is today. Now I feel a special affinity for Annie Diggs when I pass her portrait. In all things, Christie has made a difference for Kansas libraries.
A Lady with Ideas — Shannon Roy
The State Library Staff was breathless by the early months of 2005 and remained that way for over four years. To say that Christie was an agent of change is an understatement of brobinagian proportions. She was a lady who always had ideas, a librarian who found twenty-first century librarianship wonderfully exciting and promising. She was willing to try things, understanding that they might fail, and most of her ideas succeeded brilliantly, if not always conventionally. You never knew if you would find her giving a tea party for the Capitol docents, planning a new theme for the State Librarian’s Luncheon, launching a statewide audio program, starting an accreditation project, modernizing the website or spouting a stream of truly terrible jokes at a Road Show.
On the rare occasions when Christie admitted that she was temporarily out of ideas, her staff gasped, “Oh Thank Heaven!” And they usually had an impromptu party to celebrate. Christie and her staff had lots of parties because one thing they all agreed on was that you had to celebrate libraries, which was the best way to celebrate life.
Cyclone Christie picked up the Kansas Library Community and set it down in a place that was new and different. We don’t know exactly where we are going from here but it will be forward into an exciting Kansas librarianship that will be wonderful for Kansans.
The Queendom won’t be the Same — Janie Rutherford
Christie: You are the jewel of the State Library. The “Queendom” won’t quite be the same after June 1. We will miss your edicts for traveling roadshows, ‘hood rap, and movies about cats! Even more, we will miss the daily opportunity to hear your laughter, share your smiles and benefit from your wisdom. Long live Queen Christie in the new land of retirement. Remember, tiaras go with everything!
Wishing you the Best in your Retirement — Pam Schrader
I have only had the opportunity to work with you for a short two and a half years. The one most memorable moment to me is when I had interviewed for the Accountant position in the Business Office. I can remember you explaining all that the State Library does and what some of the resources are to help Kansas citizens. I could sense much warmth and friendliness in you as a person and I was holding my fingers and toes crossed that I would be the lucky candidate. “-). You will be missed.
Never a Dull Moment — Megan Schulz
I have enjoyed working with you and sharing many interesting conversations around the staff break room table. I think I can safely say that there were not many dull moments to be had. I particularly want to thank you for starting the tuition assistance program at the State Library of Kansas. Without your initiative and agency financial assistance I would not be graduating this month with my MLS! You will be missed. Your sense of humor and openness to talk about anything was greatly appreciated.
It Takes a Rap — Bill Sowers
Let me busta line about a classy lady
That rappin’cat who ain’t no fraidy.
She wrote the lines and got the playas
Yeah, we won the gold cuz we blinged most majah
She rounded up the hood and said, “Yo! let’s go!,
Marc, put on your bow tie and let’s Road Show! Road Show!”
Akon, Queen Latifah, better move it aside
Librarian Luna is the 2.0 scribe!