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Pauline Nielsen a beloved librarian

In the span of 30 years she was involved in the Kenmare Branch of the Ward County Public Library, Pauline Nielsen gathered information about the library.

3/14/18 (Wed)

In the span of 30 years she was involved in the Kenmare Branch of the Ward County Public Library, Pauline Nielsen gathered information about the library.

Photographs, newsletters, newspaper articles, brochures, you name it, Nielsen kept it to tell the story of this unique library in Kenmare.

Sadly, she passed away Wednesday at age 69. She worked at the library until 2013 when Bree Raines took over the duties.

Nielsen’s scrapbooking skills provide a wonderful history of the library dating back to when it opened in 1976.

Because Nielsen was so involved with chronicling the library and its events, seldom was she photographed or the subject of a newspaper article.

However, in 2010, former Kenmare News staff writer Caroline Downs, wrote an article about the library’s bookmobile that set out on its maiden voyage to Kenmare 50 years ago.

Nielsen and Mary Lynn Johnson were photographed as patrons of the library at that time, long before she would become librarian  in 1980.

Raines, who has done a spectacular job as librarian in her own right, called Nielsen a mentor and a legend in the library world.

Nielsen was committed to her work and was driven to spread the love of reading among Kenmare Public School students.

People on the street suggest that Nielsen would have said it was just her job to do so. But in reality, everyone knew there are few people with the knack to promote reading the way Nielsen did.

Her pictures over the years tell a unique story. You see happy children doing numerous events connected to the library.

Making cup cakes, drawing art, celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday and even creating homemade book marks are just a few of the things local children over the years became involved in under the tutelage of Nielsen.

Kenmare’s librarian also saved items about a group called Friends of the Kenmare Library, that sponsored an unlimited amount of events over the years on behalf of the local children. They ranged from book sales, to the Missoula Children’s Theatre to a re-enactment of the famous movie Citizen Kane.

In the March 23, 1983 edition of The Kenmare News, Nielsen perhaps said it best.

“The library is more than just a place to check out books,” she said. “It is a place that has the capacity to be involved in a wide variety of things.”

Nielsen also kept and scrapbooked letters that children sent her over the years that very honestly show her character as a librarian and as a person.

She was well liked, people considered her a friend and numerous children who visited the Kenmare Branch, went away thanking Nielsen for showing them the direction to a world of reading as well as other activities in the arts.

Early in 2002, when statistics were announced from 2001, Nielsen was surprised at the popularity of her library which, at the time, was loaning three times the books that the headquarters library in Minot was loaning.

She told Caroline Downs of The Kenmare News that the library is used more than people realize but, “I never realized so many books went out of here.”

In 1980, when Nielsen found out former librarian Donna Norrie was leaving, she applied for the job and accepted it since her employer, J.C. Penney, was preparing to close its Kenmare location.

She worked at the library until 1993, then took a position at the Baptist Home in Kenmare until 1996. She returned to her post and stayed until 2013.

The library opened for the first time in February 1976.

“I’m the first to admit it, I didn’t want to move back here,” Nielsen said after leaving the state following college. “But it’s different once you’ve lived here and gone away. You will appreciate a small town and the things people can do for you.”

Touche, Pauline Nielsen. It’s the things she did for the people of Kenmare that will always be appreciated... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!