Living a Lifetime Well in Ortonville

Fran at the library

The year-long, tenth anniversary of Roy Langolf’s move to Ortonville is coming to a close.  Our last blog in our #LivingLifeWell series highlights one of Ortonville’s lifelong residents – Fran Hotchkiss.   If you don’t know the name already, take a few minutes and READ: 

Fran Hotchkiss, Brandon Township Public Library’s Outreach Liaison Librarian, has literally lived life well in Ortonville for a lifetime!  Born and raised a mere two doors down from the library’s former location at 376 Mill Street, it was simply God’s plan that she became a librarian.

As the middle child amongst 11 children, Fran gravitated to the library at an early age and could be found dusting shelves and putting picture books away.  “Dorothy Grovesteen, was the librarian, when I was a little girl,” explains Hotchkiss.  “She was very patient with me and I was allowed to put 10 picture books away a day at the young age of five.”

Shelving children’s books was her first volunteer job, but the library - unbeknownst to her at the time - was her vocation.   Her first workers’ permit in 1975 was for the library so she could work part-time and assist with one story time a week.  She initially thought she’d be a social worker but ended up with a bachelor’s degree in applied sciences and early childhood education in 1990 from The University of Michigan – Flint.   Yet God had His plan since Fran was born and the library hired her full-time in October of 1979 to be the youth services manager – a title she held until 2016 – that’s 37 years!  

She obtained her master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Wayne State University in 1996 and now is so grateful to be serving her third generation of township residents.

“The library is much more than a job, it is my passion!” says Hotchkiss.  “It is such a blessing to share the love of books and reading with children over the past 44 years.   I’ve never wandered too far from my original thoughts of being a social worker…. I’m a teacher, I’m a counselor and I’m here for my community when they need me.”

While her job now involves taking books and programs on the road to schools, day care facilities, manufactured home communities and doing many early literacy programs at the library, Fran thoroughly enjoys her calling and the priceless gifts she receives from our community in love and hugs.  She is most likely on the lookout in her travels for another little girl whose heart belongs in the library!  Thank you Fran for demonstrating how to live life well by reading, exploring, investigating and connecting to others.

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