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a silent salute: The audience "claps" at Joke Night during Deaf Awareness week. Click Arts&Life for a link to story. / Photo by Leah Lopshire

Today's word on journalism

December 15, 2008

As part of my own personal "war on Christmas" (which a Utah state senator has offered legislation to outlaw), the WORD celebrates the season by going on hiatus until January. May all out days be merry and bright, and here’s to a safe, healthy and saner New Year. HoHoHo!

Empty Minds: "Of all the people expressing their mental vacuity, none has a better excuse for an empty head than the newspaperman: If he pauses to restock his brain, he invites onrushing deadlines to trample him flat. Broadcasting the contents of empty minds is what most of us do most of the time, and nobody more relentlessly than I."

--Russell Baker, Pulitzer-winning columnist

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Cleo Griffin: Newton's retired librarian can't quit working with what she loves

STILL AT IT: Cleo Griffin, at her desk in the library, has served as Newton Library's director for 10 years. Although she has retired, she will continue to work for the library in other areas. / Photo by Rachel Christensen

By Rachel Christensen

November 16, 2008 | NEWTON -- Although Cleo Griffin retired from her position as director of the Newton Library Nov. 6, the avid reader still plans to work for the library and remain close to her readers.

Griffin has served as Newton's library director for ten years. Having grown up close to a library, Griffin was instilled with a love for literature at a young age.

"When I get uptight, a mystery is the best thing in the world to unwind with," Griffin said.

She reads at least three books a week, which allows her to make recommendations to library visitors. Griffin reads books from all genres and age categories so she can provide helpful information to library visitors.

Griffin is 80 years old and has lived in Newton for 62 years. She is retiring so she can take care of her husband who was diagnosed with cancer. Griffin said she feels confident that the new director, Sara Rigby, will be able to handle the library and do the job well. Rigby was officially given the position Nov. 6 during Town Council.

"Sara's certified, she's young and energetic. It's time for some new blood," Griffin said.

BOOKS, BOOKS: Griffin dedicated a lot of time as director to researching and filing paperwork for grants used by Newton Library. These bookcases found in the library's children's section were installed Oct. 31 and will make it easier for youth to find the books they are looking for. / Photo by Rachel Christensen

Griffin has done the paperwork for several grants the library has received. New bookcases were delivered to the library Oct. 31, and the grant money used to purchase the shelves was a result of Griffin's work.

"The new bookcases are in the children's section," Griffin said. "It will make it easier for the kids to find the books they want."

Griffin will continue to work towards gaining grant money for the library. Even though she will no longer be head of the library, she said she expects to spend a lot of time there and has a lot of work left to do for the special collections section. Griffin loves geneology and history and is particularly fascinated with the history of Newton.

"This building used to be a schoolhouse," Griffin said of Newton Town Hall which houses the library, courtroom, offices, and the fire department among other things. "The mayor sold it for $7."

Newton Library is the only library on the west side of the valley, Griffin said. Before Newton library was created, Griffin said those who wanted to use a library had to go to Logan where it used to cost $150 to get a book card for visitors. Newton Library is able to sell book cards to visitors from other towns for only $5. Griffin hopes that this low cost as well as a more convenient location makes it easier for Cache Valley residents to read.

Although Griffin has retired, she is dedicated to finishing her work in special collections and will spend much of her time at the librarian as an assistant.

"I love to see children read," Griffin said. "Nothing tickles me more than a kid bringing up a book to the counter."

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