Brentwood remembers local librarian for kindness and big ideas after her death


Brentwood remembers local librarian for kindness and big ideas after her death

Lanier died from cancer on June 4. Her obituary says that she was born on January 6, but would never tell what year.  // Photo courtesy of Joy Meza

 

By MATT BLOIS

After Brentwood librarian Heather Lanier died earlier this month, Brentwood residents remembered her for random acts of kindness and her ambitious ideas.

Lanier oversaw the library’s front desk, and often helped patrons there herself.

The library has received cards expressing sympathy from as far away as New York. A post about her death on the Brentwood Library’s Facebook page has a long list of comments from patrons that remember her helping them at the front desk.

Lanier died from cancer on June 4. Her obituary says that she was born on January 6, but she would never tell what year. Community Relations Coordinator Brittany Chaudhari said that the cancer progressed very quickly.

“It was pretty sudden and hard for everyone at the library,” she said.

Adult Programming Coordinator Brigid Day worked closely with Lanier at the library. As the manager of the front desk, Lanier often dealt with complaints. But Day said that Lanier had a special talent for making everyone feel satisfied with the results.

In the Facebook post about her death, one patron remembered Lanier consoling her child during a meltdown years ago. Lanier leaned down to the stroller and asked what the child’s name was. That calmed her down and stopped her crying. Day said that sort of kindness epitomized Lanier’s personality.

“A lot of patrons know her because she has been the face of the front desk for many years,” Day said.

Her death was so sudden that many patrons didn’t know where she went. The front desk now has a framed photo of Lanier explaining that she died.

Library director Susan Earl remembered Lanier for her big ideas. At staff meetings, she said Lanier frequently presented ambitious ideas and had a talent for convincing others to get on board.

“She was very persuasive in making people realize the importance of helping other people,” she said.

Lanier pushed for the library’s automatic renewal system—a program that Earl said generates a lot of positive comments from library users. She also worked with Day to implement composting and additional recycling at the library. One of her dreams was to install solar panels on the library.

One of the most visible ways that Lanier left her mark on the library is the library’s logo. It features a lantern with the words “Illumination lies within.” Brentwood graphic designer Angie Jones created the logo, but Lanier came up with the words.

Earl said those words might be the best way to summarize what Lanier believed.

Lanier’s funeral was on June 6. In lieu of flowers she asked people to donate to the Beesley Animal Foundation and Shower Up.

The library has also scheduled a blood drive in her memory on August 1. 

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