WARREN - After 27 years as children's librarian at the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library, Maria Panozzo will be retiring at the end of the month - but says she is leaving with many happy memories of the children.
Her co-workers recently recognized her service with a gathering at the library.
Panozzo said she remembers the many children she saw and staff she has had worked with over the years.
"I remember so many of the children and now see many of them as adults who bring their own children to the library," she said.
Panozzo said she is often surprised how adults who she had as children at the library will remember her when they see her and share memories of coming to the library as a child.
She said that each day was always something new - especially when the staff had to come up with children's activities and programs.
"The smiles on their faces when I read them stories and seeing them grow over the years is what I will always remember," Panozzo said.
Before she was a librarian, Panozzo worked as a biology teacher for six years and was a librarian at her children's school.
Panozzo said there have been many changes over the years, noting how she started doing puppet shows using a cassette recorder; a device many kids today don't know about.
"It was a lot of on-the-job learning. I loved going to work and being creative," Panozzo said.
Lori Faust, current children's librarian, said she was always amazed at Panozzo's creativity and her ability to outdo herself with ideas.
"So many children come to the library and ask for Mrs. Panozzo," she said.
Faust said she was impressed with Panozzo's ability to interact and work with all the children.
"She is so creative even on a limited budgets," she said.
Ellen Finan, who retired three years ago as a children's librarian, was the one who Panozzo worked with when she stared at the library. She said she and Panozzo handled the children's programs and books.
Finan said she remembers the many wonderful ideas Panozzo often came up with activities for children's programs.
Among those activities is the Patio Pals, which started 10 years ago, where activities and stories are held on the library's patio at the southern side of the building.
"She had ideas and we gave them a try and the children loved them," Finan said.
One of the final library events Panozzo will be preparing for is Candyland in the children's room after Christmas.
For her farewell, the staff created a tea party with an "Alice in Wonderland" theme.