Library mourns loss of director

Tina Welch, Clearwater Public Library Director, died Jan. 30. She created this T-shirt for all of the Clearwater librarians with the help of community members, creating one of librarian Rhonda Janzen’s favorite memories with Welch.

By Michelle Leidy-Franklin, TSnews

CLEARWATER – Six years ago a new director was hired for the Clearwater Public Library and she transformed the library into an active community gathering place.
“Tina Welch revived many of the activities that our library offers,” said librarian Jessica Warren. “She was a big supporter in all that the library had to offer to the patrons and our community.”
Welch died on Jan. 30. A memorial service was held in her hometown of Viola, Kan., on Feb. 5.
“Her biggest passion in the library was the teen club,” said Warren. “She knew the importance that the teen club has to offer for children. She provided a safe, fun, loving environment for the teens to gather.”
Welch was instrumental in transforming the summer reading program at the library into a community-wide event. She also was responsible for starting the Lego Club for school-aged children.
“She made the summer reading program fun,” said Warren. “Not only did she make reading fun, but she worked hard to bring in a wide range of performers and guest speakers.”
Librarians from Clearwater remember Welch as a kind, loving and genuine person.
“She knew no stranger and welcomed every person with loving arms,” said Warren. “She met you where you were at and was a friend to you no matter what.”
Libarian Rhonda Janzen remembers fondly that Tina worked with people in the community to get matching shirts for all the librarians.
“My favorite memory of Tina was all of our talks we had throughout our time working with each other,” said librarian Ruth Glen.
Welch spent most of her career in education. She was a teacher earlier in life working at schools in both Andale and Goddard. After marrying Thomas Welch in 2001 and moving to Harper, she became director for the public library in Harper. In 2016, she took the director’s position at the Clearwater Public Library.
“She was a great lady, and will definitely be missed,” said Warren. “It was important to her that every person succeed and was the best person they could be. She truly wanted the best for you.”