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Longtime library worker says goodbye to Tyrone

By the time she was a freshman in high school, Christine (Chris) D. Wilt was interested in books, the library and genealogy, which provided a sound background for avenues she was to pursue.
After becoming actively involved in the Tyrone-Snyder Public Library as a volunteer in the fall of 1989, Christine was bid farewell this week to begin a new venture with her husband, David, in Douglasville, Georgia. David, son of Nancy and the late Bradley Wilt of Tyrone, is being transferred to Georgia as the company he worked for closed its doors in State College.
Chris began working with genealogy as a teenager and when her parents, the late Shirley and Gerald Robertson, moved back to Tyrone in 1989, she began working on her mother’s family history which dates back to the 1770’s.
“In the process of working with my family genealogy, I made contacts in the area, joined the Tyrone Historical Society, as well as ones in Blair and Huntingdon counties,” she said.
Chris volunteered time in the Tyrone Area High School Library from the time she was a freshman until she graduated in 1973. Two years later she and David were married and she pursued an associate degree in Early Childhood Development at El Paso Community College in Texas.
After returning to the community in 1989, Chris began volunteering in the Children’s Room in the local public library. After becoming a member of the staff in October of 1997, her main job was cataloging books and working the desk.
Chris said working in a library is a worthwhile endeavor.
“It’s educational, its fun, and it’s a learning experience in interacting with other adults, teenagers and children. There is always something new going on every day whether it is with computers, genealogy, or books, especially here in the new library. And, that is a whole new experience in itself,” she said.
“I have really enjoyed being here and interacting with the people of the area, as well as the professionals in town. The library has basically been a large part of my social time and I have really enjoyed being here and helping the public.”
Speaking of the new library, Chris said, “We have so much more room and space. We have the Tyrone Room now which didn’t exist in the old library, and we have more access with the people using the computers, and it has an atmosphere of ‘welcome’.”
One of Chris’s goals was to establish the Tyrone Room. It includes local history and specializes in genealogy and obituaries.
“We don’t have all Tyrone obituaries, but we have collected a lot, and we have family trees including over 35 local family histories. There are directories dating back to 1860 through to 1966, also phone books from 1952 to the present.”
Chris said the Tyrone Room also includes military histories and her pride and joy is having the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) book that belonged to the Jones Post for the Civil War Veterans. It has all the names of the people who joined back to the 1800s.
The room has most of TAHS yearbooks and over 118 maps. Also to be found are the Blair County Genealogy News Letters that go back to its beginning as well as those from Huntingdon and Tyrone Historical News Letters, as well as a lot of area history books.
“We have a lot of resources in that room,” said Chris.
Reminiscing of the old library, Chris remembers it as being small and cozy, but the steps kept a lot of people from coming in, particularly in the winter.
“The children’s room was so crowded in the downstairs, and there just wasn’t enough room for everything. It was a challenge, and we were always working to update. Now we are on one floor, a lot of new people are joining the library.
“We are starting a new generation and folks are coming back,” said Chris. “Also in the new Tyrone-Snyder Public Library there is a meeting room, games, computers and lots of activity for both young and old alike.”
In preparing for her move to Georgia, Chris held several workshops for the staff on materials to be found in the Tyrone Room to help make a person’s visit there an enjoyable experience in learning more about the history of the area.
Prior to moving, on her visits to Georgia where she and David are now residing in the metro Atlanta area, there are several big libraries which Chris visited and where she plans to become involved.
She was very appreciative of working with the staff and volunteers at the Tyrone-Snyder Public Library through the years and the fine support they always gave her.
The staff at the library also acknowledges all the contributions Chris made and her dedication to establishing the Tyrone Room. She will be missed.