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Media specialist retires after 30 years in district

Holly Atchison

After three decades of working for the Douglas County School District, Linda Hardy has decided it’s time to call it quits.

“I had 30 years of service,” she said, “And I thought it was time for a change both for me and the district. I felt I needed a vacation.”

Hardy has been the district’s media specialist since she came to the Carson Valley in 1967 and was in charge of all the libraries in the elementary schools. She was responsible for building the book collections of the schools and making the executive decisions.

“Gardnerville Elementary was the first school,” she said. “I have done all the elementary schools in the district, but Zephyr Cove.” Hardy also helped out occasionally with the middle and high schools in the Valley.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes,” she said. “When I came, Gardnerville was the only elementary school in the Valley and the high school was where the middle school is.”

Hardy actually left the district at the end of June, but not before a gigantic party was held in her honor.

Friends raised $200 to purchase a gift for Hardy, but she asked that something be given to the public library instead, according to Carol Slavik, children’s librarian.

“We wanted something tangible that would remember Linda’s many years that she gave to the library so we bought a rocking chair and put a plaque on the back,” Slavik said. “There was also money left over that we used to buy books with.

“She was generous enough to want her gift to go to the children of Douglas County.”

Slavik said the chair has been put to good use, allowing parents to sit and read to their children.

“I was really surprised to see people using it as much as they do,” she said. “Moms are practically fighting over it.”

“I think it’s wonderful,” Hardy said of the new chair. “I think maybe they’ll even let me sit in it once in a while,” she laughed.

“I guess they just felt it would be more of a lasting thing to do it to the public library. I thought it was a great thing. A library is a library to me. They’re all important,” she said.

“I’ve worked with her the last few years and she’s just been a valuable asset to the county,” Slavik said. “I know when I first started, she was kind of a mentor, someone to look up to and ask questions. She’s helped me a lot and has helped me to get to know all the librarians at the other schools.”

Along with the rocking chair and books, GES donated an additional $25 for the purchase of a book in Hardy’s name.

Jackie Maye, music teacher for Jacks Valley and Pinon Hills elementary schools and a long-time friend of Hardy’s, organized the party and collected the money.

“Jackie Maye was instrumental in organizing the party,” Slavik said.

“I met Linda the second day I was teaching in Douglas County,” Maye said. “Linda and I have done a lot of plays together. We’ve got a tremendous amount of stuff in common.”

Maye wrote a retrospective about Hardy’s life and the things she has been involved in which was performed at the party.

A toast to her past and future was given by those close to Hardy, including Bill and Leslie Zabelsky. Maye’s son Jason sang to Hardy.

Maye said this was a special event because the first time Jason had ever “sang” to Hardy was during a night’s stay at a “haunted hotel” when he was six months old.

Hardy’s husband Patrick also sang.

The retrospective ended with a toast to Hardy’s future, given by her brother.

“It was just a lovely evening,” Maye said. “She was treated with the respect she deserved by the people. People have loved and known Linda and she’s done a great deal in the district. I hope they miss her as much as most of us will.”

“I feel right now as if I’ve been on vacation and in September, I’ll have to go back,” Hardy said. “I really love being a librarian and I’m going to miss that job. And I’m going to miss the teachers and the kids because that was who it was all for.”