Retiree Spotlight: Betty O’Brien

The ATLA Endowment Committee presented an update on the ATLA Retirees and Lifetime Members at the 2016 ATLA Annual Conference. This Newsletter series will recap what they shared.

Betty O’Brien may have retired in May 1996, but that has not stopped her from working in librarianship. She is currently the Librarian of the Frasier Meadows Retirement Community in Boulder, CO.  She states: “My collection is only about 2,000 but they keep it current by frequent weeding. It is a well-used library – the catalog is computerized.”

A recent project has her collecting and organizing a display of the diverse artistic talents of the Frasier Meadows Community, from residents to staff. She says, “While we have many paintings, we also have photographs; stitchery, including clothing, quilts, and other handwork; and woodworking projects, including two tables, pottery, and sculpture. Last year, I did a publications display that included anything from a one page poem to the extremely technical books and articles from our retired faculty and professional — especially scientific — residents. In addition, I chair our Spiritual Life Committee and work closely with our Chaplain. So the days go by far too quickly.”

Betty started her career at the United Theological Seminary (UTS) in Dayton, OH in 1984. She first served on the Methodist Reviews Index and then as Leonard Sweet’s research assistant. A short while later, Betty also served as Reference Coordinator for the UTS library and divided her time between her various endeavors. In 2011, the library at UTS was named the Elmer J. and Betty A. O’Brien Library and an endowment fund to support the library was established in their honor.

In 2014, Betty’s husband Elmer passed away. She expressed that “2014 was a year of major adjustments” and adds that her family, four sons and a daughter, have been “wonderfully supportive” through this process.


Thank you to the Endowment Committee for their work in curating this information. If you would like to submit your story for publication and for the 2017 ATLA Annual Conference, please e-mail

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