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Making sense of mysteries to the end - Longtime archivist retires from Lawrence Public Library

by Terry Date, Eagle Tribune

Lawrence Public Library archivist Louise Sandberg was upstairs holding scissors and a sheet of paper when she got word she was wanted outside by the entrance.

It was her last day of work before retirement.

The day marked the quiet end of an era at the library, taking place in a time of great change in the nation, a time of transition, upheaval and uncertainty. For decades Sandberg has delved into the past, researching mundane and monumental things that have defined — and continue to define — the Immigrant City.

Last Tuesday, friends and co-workers came to express appreciation for her work, friendship and to say good-bye.

Upstairs, on the third floor, Sandberg had been doing what she has been doing for 24 years. Taming a wilderness of facts and curiosities about Lawrence, items found in forgotten boxes and folders, in piles or wedged behind shelves.

She and her faithful volunteers have assembled World War I and II exhibitions, graduation and school record collections and photo composites, and linked them to online repositiories. She has helped people discover family histories.

She's been something of a General Store keeper, only the vintage records, letters, photos, posters, family histories, news clippings, postcards and assorted ephemera she traded in weren't for sale.

She did it with the steady zeal of an archaeologist, a field she has been enamored with since her school girl days in Tulsa, Oklahoma.


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