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Mary Rhoads retires after decades with library

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Mary Rhoads reads the book “The Wide-Mouthed Frog”

Mary Rhoads reads the book “The Wide-Mouthed Frog” during story hour on Thursday. The pop-up book asked kids what different animals eat like frogs. Mixed between books are different sing-along songs and games that Rhoads leads.

After dedicating decades of her life working in the Kaycee and Buffalo libraries, Mary Rhoads is taking the road to retirement. Working in the children's department, Mary was famous with Buffalo's toddlers from story hours, puppet voices and experiments to keep the young minds and voices of Buffalo active and alert. Mary continued attending story hours through her final week and was surprised on the last day with a surprise story hour where she was invited to change sides and join the kids on the alphabet rug to listen and sing. 

“This is one of my favorites,” librarian Mary Rhoads

“This is one of my favorites,” librarian Mary Rhoads exclaimed when she pulled out her next book to read, “The Baby Beebee Bird,” on Thursday. Rhoads read two books during story hour before moving on to other activities. The book included lots of sounds that the kids joined in on reading.

Juliet Marlow, 6, colors on her traced

Juliet Marlow, 6, colors on her traced hand during craft time on Thursday. The kids were tasked with making a hand print flower with a straw stem and two cut out leaves.

Benson Farris, 4, smiles with his flower

Benson Farris, 4, smiles with his flower for his mom’s photo on Thursday. After the kids finished their crafts they returned to the mat for a snack.

Mary Rhoads hands out ice cream cups after adding the selected toppings

Mary Rhoads hands out ice cream cups after adding the selected toppings on Thursday. The kids could choice to add chocolate syrup, carmel syrup and M&M’S.

Ice cream treats were provided to kids and parents

Despite the early morning time each kid, and parent, was offered a small cup of ice cream with a variety of toppings to enjoy near the end of story hour on Thursday. After each story hour, the kids race into the children’s section of the library to pick out new books to check out.

Shoes were quickly abandoned by a number of kids

Shoes were quickly abandoned by a number of kids during story hour as they settled in on the alphabet mat and focused on reading on Thursday. Aly Haskell, 4, and her brother Tyson, 2, huddled together on the back of the mat laughing at the group songs.

Each book was read from the side as Mary Rhoads

Each book was read from the side as Mary Rhoads held the book open from her rocking chair for the huddle of kids to see the pictures on Thursday. This book included lots of animal sounds the kids were excited to help out with from the alphabet carpet they sit on during reading time.

Mary Rhoads checks in with the last few kids

Mary Rhoads checks in with the last few kids to see what toppings they want to add on their ice cream cups on Thursday. The kids quickly devoured their ice cream before the science experiment started.

Kids laugh and watch in surprise as Mary Rhoads squeezes

Kids laugh and watch in surprise as Mary Rhoads squeezes the water bottle during their science experiment on Thursday. She hung paper clips on straw pieces of different lengths inside the water. They floated on top of the bottle but sunk when she squeezed the water bottle.

Mary Rhoads works with Trayben Tobiasson

Mary Rhoads works with Trayben Tobiasson, 3, as he describes how to do an experiment that they learned at the end of story hour on Thursday. Rhoads, the current assistant director and a children’s library, is retiring at the end of May after 32 years with the Buffalo library and another five in Kaycee.

Mary Rhoads laughs with the kids as the puppet of the day

Mary Rhoads laughs with the kids as the puppet of the day leads the group in singing “Happy Trails” in honor of Mary’s upcoming retirement on Thursday afternoon before she retires at the beginning of next week. Mary didn’t know the story hour was happening and was surprised by all the kids and parents when she came in to look at a “technology issue.”

Photojournalist

Jessi Dodge joined the Bulletin as a photojournalist and a Report for America corp member in 2020. If you have ideas or comments, reach out at jessi@buffalobulletin.com.

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