DRACUT — She was there when the library closed in 1992.
She was there when the town approved an override 10 years later to build a new library. Library director Susan Schwarz was there when the library was temporarily located in a corridor and a couple of empty classrooms at the Lakeview Junior High School, while the new building was under construction. And she was there in 2006 when the ribbon was cut and the doors were opened at the new M.G. Parker Library on Arlington Street.
“She has experienced the full range of emotion in one year that it took the average Red Sox fan 86 years to absorb,” said Town Manager Dennis Piendak. “She was involved in every detail of the new building and throughout it all she displayed humor and grace.”
A small gathering of staff members and town officials surrounded Schwarz on her last day as director — 17 years to the day after she was hired. Several staff members shed tears.
“This is not a eulogy,” said the 65-year-old Andover resident. “And as (Piendak) said, I’m just across the river. It’ll be nice to come back and visit and just wander around, not having to answer the phones.”
Schwarz said she decided to retire after the new building was up and running. She has taken the library as far as she could, she said, and now it is time for someone with a new vision and a new plan.
“It’s hard to stand here and take credit for doing something you love,” she said. “For the last 17 years you have given me the right to be the custodial caretaker of your library. Since the beginning, this town has made me feel like part of the community. The hardest part is leaving the people you know and love.”
Schwarz joked that she would routinely lose her keys, setting off a staffwide search. She then pulled her keys out and removed one from the ring, handing it to the new library director Dana Mastroanni, who was chosen by the board of library trustees.
“She will continue in a path that’s right for Dracut,” Schwarz said.
Schwarz said she has no immediate plans for the future except to “reclaim my house and my yard.”
Piendak said that in his 21 years as town manager he has seen the departure of many department heads.
“Today, we say goodbye to one of the good ones,” he said.