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Community Portrait: After 34 years at the library, time at last to read

Community Portrait
By: Story and photograph Michael Kirby
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As of today there will be one less familiar face around the Auburn Placer County Library. Longtime library employee Karri Samson is retiring from the library staff after 34 years of devoted employment at the library. Samson started at the library in early 1978, first as a volunteer typist. The library was fairly new to its current location on Nevada Street. Later that year she was hired as a library page for a whopping $2.61 per hour shelving books. But money isn?t everything and Samson loved her job helping at the library. Sure the job has had its ups and downs, but Samson has weathered the storm. Samson is quiet by nature, but if you have visited the library in the last 34 years you?ve probably seen her. She might have even helped you find the book needed for a school project or showed you a part of the library or explained a library service you didn?t even know was available. Samson thought she wanted to be a teacher right out of college, but decided working with large groups of children was not her forte. The library was a perfect fit. She could help library patrons research projects, and the assistance she would be giving children was more one-on-one. Samson knows her stuff and is the go-to person when it comes to local history. The 58-year-old Samson is a lifelong Auburn resident, born in the old Highlands Hospital and a 1972 Placer High graduate. She grew up on a 120-acre ranch just outside of Auburn. She is especially passionate about local history and is a life member of the Placer County Historical Society. Samson has seen many changes in her 34 years working at the library. Computer catalogues have replaced the old card catalogue system for finding books. ?Technology is the biggest change,? Samson said. For the first 17 years she was supervisor of circulation. In her early days library staff would have to manually check each book in and out, matching up little slips of papers to check for late books then overdue notices would be sent. Samson was promoted to the reference department where she spent the next 17 years of her employment. Computers and the Internet have changed the way many people search for information and many people use the computers at the library. ?The Internet service at the library has been a real important resource for the public,? said Samson. Samson has spent her entire career at the library. ?I like helping people find the information they need,? she said. ?You would be surprised how many people are not real good looking up information on the Internet. The ability to use the Internet as a resource varies from person to person,? she said. The best memories Samson will be taking away from her library employment are the friendships she has developed with the frequent visitors to the library. Many people come in with their children to check out books and comment to Samson that she used to help them when they were young and came in with their parents. Samson plans to stay busy in retirement and wants to volunteer at the library. She is very involved with the historical society and plans to stay busy investigating local historical sites and setting historical markers. ?The first one I want to do is the State Theater,? she said. Samson has written several books on local history and antique bottles unique to our area and plans to write more. ?I want to start reading books again, I haven?t had much time,? she said.