“Miss Annie” Reuter Retires

Annie Reuter loves lots about life.  But her 2 absolute favorite things are children and books.

When she walked into the Ridgefield Library 2 decades ago — to start her new job as children’s librarian — she told herself:  “This is where I’m supposed to be.”

But life got even better.

In 1997 she moved to the Westport Public Library.  Between the library’s support for kids, Westport parents’ championing of children and her own over-the-top enthusiasm, it was a match made in library heaven.

Annie Reuter

Annie did not major in library science, or children’s literature.  Her degree was in human services.  Before Ridgefield she worked as a court advocate and rape crisis counselor, was an occupational therapist, and — this comes close — ran a nursery school.

But none of that compares to the joy of being around children all day, introducing them to reading.

“Children’s librarians open up worlds, through stories, imagination, play, language and rhymes,” Annie says.

Working with kids gives her a chance to “go back and join children as they suspend reality,” she adds.  “To a child, Winnie the Pooh is as real as a policeman.  There’s something magical about that.”

Most youngsters come into the children’s library without any idea what they’re looking for.  Annie talks with them, finds out their interests, and steers them to just the right books.

“When you see them open a book, and open up a new world, that’s magical too,” she says.

One of Annie Reuter's favorite sights in the world.

Kids grow up fast — we all know that.  Their tastes move quickly from Dr. Seuss to Harry Potter to Kurt Vonnegut to John Irving.  (I wish.)  But many come back upstairs to visit Annie.  She remembers them all.

They may be big 7th graders — or, now, bigger college students — yet Annie still sees them “as a child in Story Time.”

Next month, Annie retires.  She looks forward to playing with her 3 “delicious” grandchildren, traveling — and perhaps doing something at the library in Southbury, where she lives.  (“It’s been quite a commute,” she says diplomatically.)

Annie will miss “the babies, the children, the staff and the town.”  She calls Westport’s energy “irreplaceable.”

“This is a town that absolutely champions children,” she says.  “There is a love of reading everywhere.”

Kids, she notes, “can’t go to the library unless grownups bring them.  And here, they always do.”

(A reception honoring Annie Reuter is set for Saturday, December 10, 10:30-11:30 a.m. in the Higgins Room.  All Westport parents — and, more importantly, youngsters — are invited.)

7 responses to ““Miss Annie” Reuter Retires

  1. Lisa Marie Alter

    Ah, Miss Annie…

    A genuine love for children, and a passion for books and reading characterize this wonderful woman, along with her sweet, warm manner.

    Before we became Westport residents, my son and I used to come from Rowayton to spend our afternoons at the Westport Public Library (who could beat the fabulous toys-for-loan, the enormous reading selection and that spectacular Saugatuck River view from the kid’s floor ?!). Miss Annie and the other staff members were always caring, welcoming, helpful, and patient (!).

    Best wishes for a wonderful retirement, Miss Annie… Jonathan (now one of those “big 7th graders”) & I will always remember you 🙂

  2. Ahh, Miss Annie! Can’t believe she’s leaving Westport where’s she the defacto Mayor of those who can’t-yet-vote. My children are always warmly welcomed at the library but personally so by Miss Annie. Yes, she remembers their names–all 4–but she also remembers their particular likes in reading and is always able to suggest other books to read when they’ve exhausted all suggestions to date–Freddy, the Pig?! And I’m not so self-centered to believe this treatment is reserved for my children; this is her demeanor with all of Westport’s younger set. She’ll be missed by all…young and old alike!! Kathie Fording

  3. A lovely tribute to a lovely librarian! Miss Annie is wonderful and I’m sure she will be greatly missed by all!

  4. We always enjoy seeing Miss Annie! Our seventh grader first learned the joys of the Westport Library by clapping his hands and chanting “Alligator Pie” in Itty Bittys, which she led. We will miss her very much.

  5. I’m so happy my grandaughter, Violette ,and I were able to meet Miss Annie before she left–and we sure do miss her. What a wonderful lady —and just a natural with the children.
    Enjoy your grandchildren, Miss Annie, and your retirement!!

  6. Linda Gramatky Smith

    We will definitely come (sadly) to say farewell to Miss Annie on Dec. 10th. Thanks for the heads up, Dan. Annie is so enthusiastic about everything and we will miss her very much. (OK, we are senior citizens but she still greets us by name, and we send a HUGE and loving toot from Little Toot and us to this treasure. Lucky Southbury Library!)

  7. My Dearest Miss Annie,
    I only cry when I think she’s leaving…. sorry! She started a miracle in my son, he would only pay attention to her when he was around 16 months old, with her mother goose’s songs, her big smile, strong voice, even bigger heart…. my son would pay attention to her and started to recover, slowly but steady. He’s two and a half now, completely “typical”, and he’s so happy to see her when we step into that big room at the Library… he sees it’s her and he will turn to me in joy screaming: “Miss Annie!!!!” and then run to occupy his permanent first row, but now aware of everybody else around him. I can’t say enough of her. I will never NEVER forget her, neither my son will. Thank you Miss Annie, thank you so much, we love you!