Decades of Dedication: Morinville Library Bidding Farewell to Longtime Staff

Above: Morinville Community Library staff member Margaret Meetsma (left) and Library Director Isabelle Cramp will retire this summer after 21 years of dedicated service to the community. The two longtime employees started a day apart in 2003. – Stephen Dafoe Photos

by Stephen Dafoe

Morinville Community Library Staff member Margaret Meetsma shows two visiting children the Library’s mascot, Odin, a panther chameleon. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

After two decades of dedicated service to the community, Library Manager Isabelle Cramp and Library staff member Margaret Meetsma will retire this summer, leaving a legacy of growth, creativity, and unwavering commitment. Both women have been instrumental in shaping the Library’s welcoming environment, ensuring it remains a cherished place for learning and connection. As they look forward to new adventures and well-deserved relaxation, their contributions will continue inspiring staff and patrons alike.

Cramp started her journey with the Library on Feb. 4, 2003, and Meetsma joined the staff a day later. Their simultaneous start has created a deep bond between themselves and the countless patrons they’ve interacted with. As they prepare for retirement, the community will remember the joint legacy of dedication, growth, and community spirit they brought to the Library.

Cramp is returning to her roots and family in France after 34 years away. “I’m going back close to my Hometown, which is near Germany. I have all my family there,” Cramp said. I’ve got four sisters, two brothers, and a gazillion nephews, nieces, grandnieces, and grandnieces.”

Like Cramp, Meetsma is sad to leave her work after 21 years. “I love my job. I get to see so many people, and I’m going to miss a lot of people here—staff but also patron friends,” she said. “I just had a major milestone birthday, and I’ve been having some health issues. My body is telling me it’s time to hang it up. My husband is ten years older than I am, so we want to do some travelling while he’s able to.”

Reflecting on her 20-plus years at the Library, Cramp sees its growth as a legacy she leaves behind.

Although the Library is in the same location as when the two longtime employees started, it has grown considerably in size and scope. Cramp actively participated in the Library’s major renovation in 2012, which gave it a considerably larger footprint. But she is perhaps most proud of expanding how staff are cared for.

“The biggest portion where I was very instrumental in staffing and how staff are being taken care of in terms of the library being an employer and an employer that takes care of their people,” Cramp said, noting that ensuring staff have an excellent work-life balance has been crucial. “I think you have to recognize that you have staff that take care of you as a customer, but those staff also have a life and family and a need for a break. I think it’s very important to have that and to have that good balance.”

For Meetsma, the legacy she will leave behind is instilling a love of learning and libraries with her little ones and all the crafts she has participated in with children over the last two decades.

“It’s funny because some of them will not say a word the whole time for Story Time, but parents say, ‘sometimes, as soon as we get out of the building, they’re singing the songs, and we’re talking about the books we read.'”

But Meetsma also has fond memories of helping adult patrons. “People know that I know my stuff, and they’ll actually go and say, ‘Oh, can I speak to Margaret because she knows well what I have to do?’ and stuff like that, which is very cool also.”

Cramp agrees with the joy of seeing regular patrons over the years.

“It’s been a lot of fun, too, for Margaret and I seeing people grow up because we’ve had people come to Story Time when we first started. We knew [them] from little tikes; they get married, have their kids, and then come back with their kids, Cramp said. “It’s a good thing because it shows that they’ve enjoyed their library experience so much that when having their children, they want to reproduce that again with them. It shows me how important the Library is and how learning early literacy affects your life.” 

However, as fond as both women are of their time spent at the Library, they look forward to retirement, although they will miss many aspects of their respective jobs.

For Cramp, it is not having the responsibility of being the director and the duties of advocating for funding and relevance.

“You constantly have to advocate for relevance, even though, for anyone who uses the library, it’s so obvious that the libraries are relevant,” Cramp said. “It’s not obvious to everyone. It’s that constant fight that I’m not going to miss.

“What I will miss the most is the people I work with because they’re fantastic, and I think what I will also miss most is the community because this is a fantastic community.”

Margaret Meetsma said she won’t miss the physical demands of her job and the toll it has taken on her energy levels.

“I’ve had so many hats that I’ve worn here in the library, and not being able to do some of those things [is hard],” Meetsma said, noting she loves her job and takes pride in it. “I love working with everybody here, which is amazing to have a staff that is so gelled together. You don’t find that very often to be in a place where everybody gets along.”

While she will miss working with fellow staff, she said she will most miss the day-to-day helping people at the Library.

“I’m not going to be leaving the Library; it’s still one of my favourite places,” Meetsma said. “It’s going to be different, but at the same time, I still will see a lot of people that I know. I’m going to really miss it; the little ones and everything.”

The Library is currently seeking a new Library Director. Cramp said she is excited for the Library to have fresh blood and ideas.

“I will keep following the library on Facebook and checking the website, and I’m sure I’m going to see great things in the near future,” she said. “It’s a good time for fresh blood, new ideas, and a new bunch of energy.”

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5 Comments

  1. Has always been a pleasure to work/deal with these fine ladies. Thank you for how far along you brought our library.
    Enjoy life after library…
    Thank you.

  2. Congratulations to both of you on taking the next step in life …..the both of you will be so missed , but what dedication you have given Morinville Library . I remember when you both joined and 20 plus years fly by in a minute …thank you for your years of dedication with the Libary and good health and enjoyment in the upcoming chapters in both your lives !🥰

  3. Good luck to both Margaret and Isabelle and enjoy your retirement. It has always been a pleasure to deal with you two. Always helpful. Thank you

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