The Marketing and Adult Programs coordinator at Roddenbery Memorial Library is set to close her book on a 20-year career of helping people.
Cathy Rieger, one first people patrons usually come in contact with at the library, will retire on Wednesday.
Rieger began career at RML in November 1994. Prior to that, Rieger, now a Cairo resident, was living in Tallahassee, Fla.
She claims to have “reinvented” her life when she decided to move to Cairo, where her family, Joe and Lisa David, have lived for many years.
Rieger said, “I decided to move to Cairo to be near them. I had been to Cairo many times to visit and go to concerts and football games but had not visited the library.”
After moving to Cairo, Rieger began hearing about the library and its wonderful reputation in the community. When she saw an ad in the newspaper for a job, she jumped at the opportunity for a position there — plus a library card.
“I had no idea that I would get the job and that the library would be a kick off to a brand new life,” said Rieger.
Rieger started at the library as the circulation supervisor.
Years later through her library co-workers’ dating advice, she met her husband, Stan Rieger.
She said, “We got married at the St. Simon’s lighthouse. He is the man of my dreams and his daughter, Ivy, is the perfect complement to that dream. We enjoy our lives together in south Grady County.”
Rieger has learned much from the library and the people she meets there on a daily basis — and not just about dating.
When she began working at the library and was given her first tour, the director at the time, Alan Kaye, if she had any knowledge about the Internet. She did not since it was the early 1990s and personal computers were still new.
She recalled there were four public computers and patrons were busy working on one with a black-and-white text screen. Luckily, she found co-worker friends who taught her the things she needed to know about computers.
“I had so much to learn, the least of which was my way around all those rooms and shelves,” Rieger said. “Janet Boudet was my supervisor who was able to finish my training. I did not have all the answers, but I learned where to find them. So every time I help a patron, I learn something— we go to the shelves and dig out the answers together,”
In addition to assisting the countless patrons who have walked through the doors of RML over the past 20 years, she has touched the lives of her co-workers.
Boudet, the associate director, was part of the committee who helped hire Rieger.
She said, “Cathy is one of the best things to ever happen to this library. Her personality and talents have added so much to our library. She is a true public servant — putting patrons and the library first.
We’ve had some wonderful times together and I feel very blessed to have had 20 years to work with Cathy. She certainly made my job easier and my life more rewarding by having her as a friend and co-worker.”
Don Nickerson, a member of the Executive Committee of the Friends of the Roddenbery Memorial Library, has observed the hard work and dedication Rieger has exemplified in her career.
“The best thing I can say about Cathy is to quote her. She told me recently that ‘There is nothing better than helping people,’ and Cathy showed that every day on the job. No matter how tired she might be you could plainly see in her words, actions and her face that she loves people and helping them is what she does. She will be missed at the library,” said Nickerson.
For three years, Pam Grigg, the director of RML, has worked with Rieger. She has seen the opportunities Rieger has provided for the people of Grady County.
She said, “The wonderful classes and events she has designed and brought to fruition have been beneficial. Her grant writing resulted in the Warnell Room being designated the ‘Care Center’ containing materials related to cancer and care giving.
“Her enthusiasm for people and providing outstanding library service is evident on a daily basis, from her newsletters to her attractive displays which have graced the glass display cases throughout the years. A true people person. She has been one of the ‘rocks’ of Roddenbery Memorial Library.”
Rieger is leaving her position in capable hands. Jessica Wilson of Thomasville will be the library’s new Marketing and Adults Program coordinator.
She holds a Master of Library Science degree from Valdosta State University. For seven years, she has been working in libraries.
She said, “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to connect the people of Grady County with the information they need to grow and prosper.”
Once officially retired, Rieger has huge plans to grow her own food and only eat healthy things, and walk around the wood where she lives. She also plans to spend more time with her rescued hounds, Ashley Wilkes and Miss Melanie, who she joked are the only children still living at home.
“I know that I will miss all of the patrons and friends here at RML,” she said. “After I complete all my goals, I am sure that I will come back and take part in some of the cool things going on here.”
Reporter Susanne Reynolds can be reached at (229) 226-2400,