(1956 – 2019)
If anyone deserves a place among the influential people of the Columbia Public Library, it would be Jeanette Sherk. She has accomplished what some would say “a miracle” – turning a diverse group of people into a cohesive unit and setting into motion a long-overdue building renovation. It is no secret that our board was going through some difficulties 7 years ago. Personality conflicts, disagreements, and infighting were accomplishing very little toward the goals of our library. Jeanette was invited to visit a board meeting to provide her input. To say she was shocked is an understatement.
But Jeanette has always liked a challenge, and she was determined to turn this group into a community-focused library board. She took the reins with a no-nonsense attitude – with statements such as “This ends now” and “Let’s bring it back into focus”. One board member resigned. But the rest began working as a team to focus on the library’s immediate needs and long-term goals. Jeanette’s dream was to see the library expand and I am so glad she was able to see this happen. She enjoyed all of the meetings, decisions, and choices that were a part of a project that lasted two years from initial plans to finished product. She was also one of the “ribbon cutters” to open our library again to the community.
Jeanette brought her same determination to a three- year battle with ALS. Sadly, her battle ended in February of this year. Jeanette wanted to be remembered as a lady who loved to laugh, who loved her community, who loved her Lord, who loved her family and friends, and who loved books (not necessarily in that order!).
I am proud to call Jeanette my friend and would like to let her know that she is a true role model for not only myself but many others.
Receiving the award tonight on Jeanette’s behalf is her husband, Steve – the best caregiver a person could ever hope for. Steve, all of us at the Columbia Public Library want you to know how much Jeanette meant to us. She will always be an integral part of this library and the town of Columbia.
Director, Columbia Public Library