Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Jana Mathia
Gazette Editor 

Kirkpatrick announces retirement

 

April 30, 2020



COLFAX – Whitman County Library Director Kristie Kirkpatrick announced she will retire after 33 years with the library district. Having served 21 years as the director, Kirkpatrick is set to retire Oct. 1.

Kirkpatrick started her library service as the manager of the Rosalia branch in 1988.

Over the years she saw and helped spearhead major improvements in technology, especially internet connection. Library partnerships included First Step Internet, St. John Telephone, Pioneer Telephone, the Port of Whitman, the Washington State Library and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which provided a $104,000 grant in 2002. Kirkpatrick met with Bill Gates during a surprise visit that year.

“It was such a surprise and honor to be selected for the personal visit from Mr. Gates, with Foundation officials citing 'Whitman County Library’s innovative and creative approach to rural library services' as the reason,” Kirkpatrick said.

She also saw an expansion of the library, with new branches going in at St. John, LaCrosse and Malden, and major renovations at Colfax, Endicott, Rosalia and Uniontown. The library now operates the Bettie Steiger Community Enrichment Center and Libey Gallery.

Library usage saw great increase over the past 30 years. Prior to the current shutdown, usage was "off the charts" including nearly 50,000 people attending classes and programs last year.

Besides her work in the district, Kirkpatrick was active for many years at regional, state and federal levels.

She and husband Allen have six children and 16 grandchildren with two more on the way. After retiring, Kirkpatrick plans to spend more time with grandchildren and participating in library programs and Friends of Whitman County Library.

The announcement of the retirement was set to coincide with opening of the job position.

 

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