March 31 will be Terri Hurley’s last day as public relations director at the Great Bend Public Library. After 34 years of service to the library and the community, she is retiring.
The public is invited to a reception honoring Hurley from 2 to 4 p.m. today, with a program at 2:30. Featured will be pictures taken through the years and articles from the Great Bend Tribune.
"The decision to retire from the library was one of the hardest decisions of my life," Hurley said. "I will desperately miss ‘my people’ those who have attended one of the thousands of computer classes I’ve taught or those who faithfully attend movie nights. I cherish the time I spent with the artists and artisans who have brightened the library with their work. I was humbled by the stories the veterans told me about their experiences serving our country in war and in peacetime. During the last five years I was honored to work with groups of young adults during the summer library programs. Local singing sensation Carmen Burrow was one of those teens. Carmen will sing during my reception on Sunday at about 2:30."
In January 1977, Hurley was hired as secretary to three department heads. Within a few months she was promoted to assistant reference librarian and audio-visual librarian. Two years later the position of public relations director was created for her.
"I am proof that hard work and dedication pay off," she said. "My husband Art told me the other day ‘you break down doors and take no prisoners.’ I hope he meant that when I see a need I do whatever it takes to meet that need. My philosophy has always been that no matter how hard the work or how many hours it takes you do your best to succeeded."
Through the years Hurley has created many programs. One of her favorites was Chautauqua ’82, a day which included a parade, pony rides, artisans’ demonstrations and a six-hour long stage show featuring local talent. Gunfights on the east lawn of the library presented by the Gun Fighters of the Plains were held during the afternoon. Mountain men demonstrated hatchet throwing and showed items like those used in the early days of this area.
Hurley, along with several local poets, created Poetry Rendezvous in 1988. Poets from across the country gathered at the library to share their poetry. As a result of her work on this program she received an "Outstanding Citizen" award from the City of Great Bend.
In 1994, local veterans presented Hurley with a certificate of appreciation naming her "Honorary Garrison Commander" for her work with local veterans and veteran organizations to organize the community-wide Veteran’s Day Celebrations. The library sponsored the programs from 1993-1998.
Hurley organized the library’s Centennial Celebration in 2008. Included were veterans, poets, young adults, the city band, singer Carmen Burrow, former library Director Duane F. Johnson and Senator Ruth Teichman who presented a proclamation from the Kansas Senate. Members of the Society for Creative Anachronism praised libraries as a source for information. "I was honored to receive a Louis and Clark medal held by a string of Indian trade beads from longtime library supporters Zacharias Bones and Running White Fawn," Hurley said. "It was a day to remember."