By Megan Wehring
BUDA — From seeing the excitement on children’s faces to watching them grow into mature adults, Martha Sanders archived several favorite memories during her time at the Buda Public Library.
After nearly two decades as a children’s librarian, Sanders touched the lives of many families by creating an environment that encourages reading and learning that will last beyond childhood. But Sanders knew it was time to close this chapter of her life and “switch her joy” to explore and travel with her husband.
“I have loved getting to know so many members of our community and have made friendships that will last a lifetime,” Sanders said.
Sanders did not consider becoming a librarian until she owned a preschool business in Lockhart, where she would take her classes to the local library for weekly story time. She credits the children’s librarian, Ms. Bertha, for inspiring her to pursue the same position in Buda.
“[She] was always so wonderful with the kids and helped many of them foster a love for reading,” Sanders said. “When I first started my position at the Buda Public Library, I thought back to Bertha’s great story times as I sought out on my own mission to create a nurturing, fun environment that encourages youth literacy.”
Over the last several years, library director Melinda Hodges has watched Sanders kindle relationships with the children’s families.
“There are so many kids and families in this community that have grown up with her,” Hodges told the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch, “that were here in her programs as little kids that are now graduating from high school or college. She is a part of their family. She is a part of their regular lives.”
Sanders would help a child when they face an obstacle, whether that be when they are reading a book or going to school for the first time.
“She is the person who would take the time to talk to them,” Hodges said. “She would try to make them feel more comfortable with things that are going on.”
While the job had some challenges for the past year with COVID-19, Sanders embraced using virtual platforms when necessary to have an outlet for children to learn.
Retiring from her librarian position will not alter Sanders’ love for reading, especially historical fiction like “The Kite Runner” or “The Nightingale.”
“On a rainy day, or any day, I love to be zipped away to another time inspired by real events,” Sanders said, “where well-developed characters overcome major obstacles with finesse and strength.”
Residents are welcome to attend the retirement party at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 21 at the Buda Public Library.