Three jobs at age 92: “It keeps you out of mischief”


Sue Kirshner in the library she established at Sinai Residences, Boca Raton, as another volunteer re-shelves some of the 1500 volumes

One day last summer, I drove to pick my 83 year-old father up at the gym where he’d worked out for years, and he introduced me to one of his friends there, Sue Kirshner.  Sue, he explained, was 91, and had a long career as a librarian.  She, too, had been frequenting the JCC for quite some time.  (Unlike him, however, she could still drive herself there.)

Sue’s husband had died, not long ago, and she’d moved into a spectacular new residence for seniors that had been built on the same campus.  She kindly invited us for a tour, and I was impressed by the grounds of the facility.  But I was more impressed by Sue.  My father struggled to keep up with her as she whirled us around the campus.

This was even before I learned that she’d never given up the books.  Sue was pressed into service to establish the library at her new residence, and, for the last 25 years, she’s also been integrally involved with libraries at her synagogue and at a local hospital.

All of this keeps “her out of mischief,” as she told an interviewer who profiled her for her community service.  I imagine that all of this is also what’s kept her so vibrant.

I met Sue in the newest of “her” libraries to talk about her life and her work.  It turns out she grew up in the neighborhood next to ours in Brooklyn, a fact that somehow never had come up in all the years she and my father had been chatting.  And this was just weeks before she turned 92.

Hear how Sue got involved in the work she still does–and why she feels libraries are anything but obsolete.  A library patron named Sylvia approached us and chimed in while we were chatting; her words summed it up perfectly: “You can’t hug a Kindle,” she said.