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Kansas history buffs have a new friend at library

9/3/2012

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

It wasn't a whim that led Lucia Flaim to apply for a position at the Hays Public Library.

But getting a job there so quickly was a long shot, she thought.

Flaim, a native of St. James, Mo., is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with a master's degree in library science.

After her boyfriend, Clint Bain, accepted a teaching position at Thomas More Prep-Marian High School, she decided to check out job openings in the area. Though she wasn't going to start job hunting until August, she decided to apply at the library early this summer.

Just a week later, she received an email saying there had been a resignation, and inviting her to discuss the position.

Flaim was one of a number of candidates applying for the Kansas Room librarian position that became available after Mary Anne Thompson retired in June, said Eric Norris, library director.

Norris said Flaim's archival experience and interest in preserving documents make her a good fit.

Flaim started her new position as Kansas Room librarian two weeks ago, and has been meeting local history buffs.

"They have a lot to share with me, not only by answering their questions, but also by just talking to them through conversations as well," Flaim said.

"She's such an easy person to talk to, and very personable," Norris said. "People warm up to her pretty quick."

"I love Hays so far," Flaim said. "It's a beautiful community with lots of history and culture and lots of things going on."

There won't be any immediate changes to the Kansas Room, but Flaim does plan to expand the collection with more information about Walker Air Force base and the city of Victoria, including a history of community and news events.

She's also been delving into the closed stacks and sorting information.

"I love treasure hunting. You never know what you'll find," Flaim said.

No community photo scan days have been scheduled, but anyone who would like to come in and scan photos is welcome.

"It's a great way to build our archives and provide a resource to the people of Hays, which is why we're here," Flaim said.

Though she's new to Kansas history, research is one of her favorite pastimes.

"I always felt like whenever I was writing a paper or something for school, there was no greater feeling than looking for something to prove your point and finding that exact piece of information as a result of your research," she said. "I am just thrilled that I can continue to do that for patrons here and for my own research as well."