End of an era: Bellaire librarian Terri Mote is giving up the reference business to create art, relax

By Charlotte Aguilar

Terri Mote is celebrating her 69th birthday today — and her first day of retirement.
The beloved Bellaire Library reference librarian marked her last day on the job Thursday with a steady stream of friends dropping in to say goodbye and good luck,

Bellaire reference librarian Terri Mote went about her last hours of work — after 34 years on the job — on a desk full of tributes. (Photo by Charlotte Aguilar)

to share a mini-cupcake and a memory or two.
“I’ve spent half of my life in this job, in this building,” said Mote, who was a jill-of-all-trades when she started in Bellaire in January 1983 and was named to the reference job the following year.
She’s seen her position evolve from pointing patrons to needed information buried in rows of encyclopedias, dictionaries, manuals and almanacs or to sources outside the library’s walls, to connecting them to a world of data online.
She laughed that her birth sign (Taurus) dictated her “biggest strength is tenacity; my biggest weakness is stubbornness.”
Mote’s grateful regulars ranged from elementary pupils gingerly venturing into their first attempts at research to seniors facing the challenges of new technology. And she handled them all with deftness and patience.
She was also a force in the creative programming at the library — classes, workshops, guest speakers and movies — and frequently presented sessions herself.
An accomplished scratchboard artist — a technique involving etching designs into China clay covered with black ink — Mote introduced the genre at workshops for all ages.
Now, she’ll have more time for working at her scratchboards and perhaps a pottery class.
“We’re going to miss you terribly,” moaned one patron who went in for a lingering hug.
“Don’t worry,” Mote consoled her. “I’ll be back.”

There were lots of hugs and tears as Bellaire reference librarian celebrated her last day on the job after 34 years on Thursday. (Photo by Charlotte Aguilar)