Minnesota librarian turning 90 has no plans to retire

Published 8:36 am Monday, April 9, 2018

MABEL — A soon to be 90-year-old Minnesota librarian says she has no plans of retiring anytime soon.

Donna Johnson has worked at Mabel Public Library since 1994. The library plans to hold an open house birthday party for her April 13, the Post Bulletin of Rochester reported.

“She’s kind and she’s sunny, and she’s pleasant,” said Jennifer Harveland, communications director for SELCO, the regional system the library is a part of. “She wants to make sure that she gets the patron in her community the best possible library service that she can.”

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Johnson may be the oldest library director in the state. She said she does her job because it’s fun, not for the money.

“It’s fun to go to the shelf, and the book is just where you put it,” Johnson said.

Johnson was born in South Dakota and moved to Mabel when she was 7. She’s has become a fixture in the small city of 750 people and has lived in the same house for more than half a century.

“She’s done a lot for the community here and put a lot of time at the library,” said Lori Hoff, a Mabel library board member. “She’ll be there after the library closes and early in the morning before it opens. I think that’s her spot in the community.”

Johnson previously worked for the school system for 28 years as an elementary school teacher and librarian.

Johnson said her secret to vitality is never smoking or drinking.

“I feel good. I’m seldom under the weather,” she said.