Tribute to Trustee Bob Harder

Bob Harder

Photo Credit: Topeka Magazine

A member of the Library’s Board of Trustees passed away late last week. Robert Harder was 84. He was a Methodist minister, community volunteer, secretary for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and helped create the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.

“Bob and Dottie Harder have been library champions and volunteers for many years. They are part of our library family, and our thoughts are with Dottie and her family. The Library and I have benefited from Bob’s wise counsel, savvy political sense and passion for the public good many times over the past six years,” said Library CEO Gina Millsap. “On behalf of the Board of Trustees and staff of the Library, we are proud to say that we had the good fortune to work with Bob Harder. We will miss him very much.”

The long-time Kansan and his wife, Dottie, have done so much for the library and the community. So as part of today’s tribute, we’re re-running a Q&A with Bob that we published back in 2011.

The Board of Trustees will observe a moment of silence during its regular meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 17 at 4pm.

Bob Harder

Bob Harder views art at the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery

Meet the Trustee

Q. Besides your role as a Library Trustee, what do you do in the community?

A. I am retired from working over 33 years for the State of Kansas. I am a volunteer lobbyist in the general area of human services. I also read to 1st graders at the Lowman Hill School once a week. I teach a Sunday School class at First United Methodist Church.

Q. When did you get a library card?

A.  We (he and his wife Dottie) came to Topeka in 1958. We began using the library then and we have never stopped.

Q. What area of the library are you most interested in or excited about?

A. The Kids Library because it is always alive with children, and I like all of the art work being done by our own staff.  Also, the Café because it is such a good place to meet friends and then go to the Booktique and the opportunity to check out books and movies while in the Library.

Q. Name a few ways you see the library making a difference in the Topeka and Shawnee County community.

A.  The Library is gathering point for all of Topeka and Shawnee County. It is the most ecumenical and diverse location for the children, youth, and adults to gather in our city. It provides an unlimited opportunity for reading and learning. The Library defines who we are in Shawnee County and Topeka and that definition is one of a journey for knowledge, understanding, and critical thinking.

Q. What will the library do in 2012 to make a difference for library customers and the community?

A.  It will continue to do what the Library staff is good at doing – providing a place for the stories we want, the information we need, and the connections we seek. And the Library will be leading all of us into the next year, the next decade with a better understanding of who we are and how to make Topeka/Shawnee County a even better place to live.

A public relations professional, editor and writer, Lisa shares the library story in her blog posts, in the bimonthly Library News, and media interviews. A self-described social media and news nut, Lisa harnesses that passion to raise awareness and understanding of the library's vital role in this community.