Legislature John Mills, library board secretary Pam Bartkowski, Town of Concord Supervisor Gary Eppolito, Annette Gernatt, Paul Gernatt, library board vice president Leslie Gibbin, library board president Tom Virginia and current librarian Bridget Heintz celebrate the unveiling of Annette Gernatt’s portrait, which will be displayed in the library.
SPRINGVILLE—Annette Gernatt spent her entire life knowing what she wanted to be when she grew up. She knew she wanted to spend her life surrounded by books and other people who loved books, so she became a librarian.
For 47 years, Gernatt worked with the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system, 30 of those years were spent in Concord and 20 in the Hulbert Library of the Town of Concord.
Gernatt reminisced with Carol Batt of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system about the day they moved all the books from the old library, which was housed in the current Lucy Bensley Center building, to the site of the library on Chapel Street.
“She had her tape measurer and she was right about it all,” Gernatt said. “And it only took us one day.”
From that day, Gernatt served as the librarian for the Hulbert Library of the Town of Concord until her retirement in September of 2013. Earlier this week, Gernatt and those responsible for getting the library its own building came together to honor Gernatt.
The library board voted last year to commission a portrait of Gernatt to be displayed in the library next to one of Mr. and Mrs. Hulbert and one of Lucy Bensley. Surrounded by Town Supervisor Gary Eppolito, former Town Supervisor Ron Wendel, Legislator John Mills, Library Secretary Pam Bartkowski, current Librarian Bridget Heintz, Library Board Vice President Leslie Gibbin, Board President Tom Virginia, and her husband, Paul, Gernatt got to see the unveiling of her portrait which will adorn the walls for years to come.
“It’s a huge honor,” she said. “I was told I had to work long enough to have a portrait on the wall like Mrs. Bensley, who had been here for 50 years.”
Gernatt received two proclamations, one from Mills and another from Assemblyman Dave DiPietro, for her service and commitment to the library and the town.
“I want to thank everyone for this,” Gernatt said. “And we really have the best staff.”
Eppolito thanked Wendel for taking the “leap of faith” 20 years ago to get the library built.
“Libraries were different back then,” he said. “But this one has always remained vibrant and busy.”
In addition to serving as the librarian, Gernatt was also thanked for her input and dedication to the board.
“It was a good, working board,” said Wendel. “Annette always had a lot to give to the board. It was a great time.”
Being back in the place she spent most of her time in, Gernatt was flooded with memories she was more than happy to share. Between hot dog roasts, summer programs and children’s programs, Gernatt saw a lot of community members come in her library.
“I loved doing children’s programs. They were always my favorite,” she said. “ And I’m proud to say a lot of the kids in those summer programs grew up to become valedictorian or salutatorians. They all did well in school. It was great to see someone so young grow into something so great.”
Gernatt also remembers a time when the library housed a bookmobile, another one of her favorites.
“Oh, I loved the bookmobile,” she said. “I wish I could have my own bookmobile now.”