After 31 years, Malinda Miller, who is a familiar, smiling face at the Orange Public Library is retiring. Her last day is Thursday.

Miller who began at the library as a clerk typist will leave as a library aide, but her love of everything at her former place of employment will have her coming back to volunteer occasionally.

Over the years she has seen many changes. When she started, there were card catalogues to look up the books in the library and find where they are located on the shelves. When a person checked a book out a page was stamped with a due date to return the book. Computers and bar codes were later introduced using a computer system from the city of Orange. Later, the library would update their systems and change to SIRSI which still uses barcodes but utilizes the internet.

Another change is the addition of computers. Before computers were installed, patrons would look up old magazines or newspapers on microfiche. In addition, in 1990, the library workers began documenting the obituaries found in local papers for future reference.

Other employees and volunteers who became friends with Miller have come and gone, but what remains the same is the large volume of books and the “regulars” who often visit the library.

“Our patrons are such really nice people,” Miller said.

Miller didn’t always aspire to work at the library. She has always loved to read, but it was her sister-in-law, Betty, who told her about the job opening. Before then she was busy being a wife and mother to her two sons, John and Matt, and volunteered at the boy’s schools. She also was a den mother while they were in the cub scouts. Plus as the boys became more involved in school activities such as band, she was there.

Now with retirement days ahead, she has already began planning what she will do. Her husband, Ted, of 43 years, has been retired for 15 years and is waiting to spend more time with his wife.

But, she will not leave reading fiction books behind, but will expand her list of authors. While working at the library, when new books came in, it was “like Christmas” every time. Miller processed the books into the system and said she was “amazed” at how many of the newly arrived books were lovingly dedicated to people who had died.

With the extra time on her hands, she will dig right into her gardening. Her gardens are currently filled with day lillies, but she also likes to do various “experimental” flowers to see how they will do in Southeast Texas and for something different.

Miller will continue to learn something new as she reaches for new challenges and sets new goals.

“I don’t think you ever quit learning,” she said.

One of her passions in life is to research her family’s genealogy. Retirement will enable her to tackle information more frequently than just on a part time basis. But, she also has plans to do some traveling too. So, it will all have to be worked out.

However, the first step is to walk out the door on Thursday afternoon after completing one last work day at the library. A party is planned to celebrate her many years of service to the city of Orange and the public library. It is scheduled from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m at the library.

Malinda Miller, after 31 years of working at the Orange public library, is retiring.