After 18 years with the Pine Island Library, Lillian Bradley retired Thursday, May 23.
Branch Manager Randy Briggs said the Friends of the Pine Island Library,volunteers of the library, as well as her book discussion group threw her a surprise party with refreshments and a corsage Thursday to send her off with well wishes.
"Everyone loves her," Briggs said of Bradley.
She said she was completely surprised about the party.
Ten minutes before her book discussion group was to end, the doors opened at the library and approximately 30 people entered the room to surprise Bradley.
"I couldn't believe the people coming in," she said. "It was really something and I had no idea. I was completely surprised."
Bradley said she has very mixed emotions about her retirement.
"It's a very bitter sweet thing," she said. "I love my work."
Before moving to Southwest Florida, Bradley worked at a library up north for 25 years. She continued her career in the Lee County Library System in Fort Myers where she was a floater for three months; from there she transferred to the Pine Island Library where she remained for 18 years. She was a library assistant, volunteer coordinator, head of the book discussion group and in charge of the interlibrary loan program at the Pine Island Library.
"I am retiring after 48 years of working in the library," Bradley said Thursday.
She said she wanted to pursue a career in the library system all those years ago because she has always had a love for books and people.
"I have always loved books and I love people and you get both in the library institution, Bradley said.
One of the many things she is proud of is her book discussion group. She said a group that started off small grew to be 49 people strong during the winter months.
"It is such a lively group, quite a group," Bradley said.
She also enjoyed her time as the coordinator of the volunteers, which averaged about 30 individuals.
"I have many field trip memories," Bradley said.
Last year her volunteers were treated to a downtown Fort Myers history walking tour and the year before that they went to Useppa Island for a tour.
"Every year we go on a trip," she said.
Now that she is retired, Bradley said she is going to be on the executive board of the Friends of Pine Island Library, as well as volunteer for F.I.S.H.
"I'm going to continue the book discussion as a volunteer," she said.
The book discussion group will begin again in October and run through May. During the months of January, February and March, the group meets at the Pine Island United Methodist Church, and at the library October, November, April and May.