By Grace Abate
Bozeman High School librarian Rita Kroon has always been Rita: it’s just easier that way. Starting her job with two children in the school she was familiar with a lot of the kids, making her “Rita” to them – and to everyone else by default.
Kroon has a degree in English literature with an endorsement in library; she volunteered at a public library and worked for six years at the MSU library before coming to work here.
When asked what her favorite part of the job was, Kroon listed almost all of it: helping students who come in, teaching classes about research, finding new books for the non-fiction section and getting to read those materials.
”It’s sincerely the best job in the high school,” and no, she would not want to switch with anyone, says Kroon.
When I asked how many kids she sees a day she laughed.
“I don’t have a clue,” she said – though she guessed that she personally helps around 60 per day.
“I get a lot of the same kids everyday, so that’s nice,” she added.
Kroon could tell me about the kind of kids that came in during the day: which ones came in early morning, at lunch, or after school – and their missions while they were there. She can remember which kids sit where when they come in during their free periods, but she can’t remember their names.
Kroon can look at a student, remember what research project that she helped them with and what references they used, but has no clue what their name is.
She gets to work with, “Mostly kids, so that’s the best part of it.”
Doing the math Kroon figured out how many extra hours she spends in the library getting her work done a week, about 13 hours was the total she came to. This is not counting the hours she spends at home grading papers on the weekends.
“In the eight years I have worked with Rita, I’ve found her to be a very passionate librarian who loves what she does each and every day,” says fellow librarian Marilyn Bauer.
“She’s also very compassionate and caring towards the high school students, making it her ultimate goal to make sure each and everyone of them have the foundation they need to use the library and do their research. I really enjoy working along side of her and have learned a wealth of knowledge from her. She’s a great co-worker!” Bauer said.
Every class that comes in has Kroon’s help with everything from citing their sources to writing their paper in full. She finds joy in helping kids with their mundane projects, smiling and making jokes the entire time.
“She’s super nice and sweet and the cutest thing I’ve ever seen,” Madi Lapp, a student, said when I asked her what she thought of Kroon.
The rest of Lapp’s table had similar things to say, “She’s like a little ball of sunshine on a cloudy day,” Hope Degenhart said,
“She’s super sweet and helpful,” Mary Rose Hicko stated,
“She helped me pass English,” Anna Jinnamon said simply.
Kroon says the only part of the job that can get dull is the computer maintenance. The restocking and drier parts of her job she can pass off to Bauer’s TA’s – by the end of their time in the library, she says, they’re better at it then she is.
Kroon doesn’t have any assistants of her own, “I just abuse Marilyn’s,” she says with a laugh, adding, “I really appreciate their work.”
Kroon loves her job, loves working with the kids of BHS and seeing her regulars daily. She finds joy in helping kids with projects and passing classes, and claims there is never a dull day.
If you want help with English, understanding ridiculous grammar rules or simply to see a happy, friendly face, go see Rita.