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Dave Olson, Published December 04 2012

Moorhead library director remembered as welcoming advocate

MOORHEAD – Anne Fredine had a fierce regard for intellectual freedom and an equally strong respect for the staff and customers of the Moorhead Public Library, where she was director for nearly a quarter of a century.

That fierceness would reveal itself at times, like when the petite but fearless librarian was obliged to show a shirtless and disruptive individual the door.

But those who worked with Fredine say what they will remember most was her smile and the way she made the library welcoming to employees and patrons alike.

Fredine died Saturday at her Moorhead home. She was 68.

Fredine, who was diagnosed with colon cancer in early 2011, retired last summer.

A photo of Fredine and her trademark smile hangs on a library wall next to the technology center that bears her name.

The computer-filled area was created from what used to be staff offices, space Fredine figured held more value as a place where people could use computers to find jobs, communicate with friends and family, or simply play video games.

“Before Anne’s time, this building was not carpeted. It had kind of uncomfortable seating. No lounge-type areas,” said Helen Goodin, who worked closely with Fredine for most of the 25 years Fredine was at the Moorhead library, first as director and more recently as the assistant director of the Lake Agassiz Regional Library.

“Over the years, as libraries tried to become more accessible to people, Anne was really instrumental in seeing that we’ve got to make this place appealing for all ages,” Goodin said.

Goodin, collection developer for the regional library, which oversees the Moorhead library and 12 other libraries across seven Minnesota counties, said Fredine stayed in touch after her retirement, relying on Goodin to keep her supplied with the kind of reading material she most enjoyed.

“She’d call and say, ‘I’m out of mysteries, you know what I like.’

“And, yes, I did,” Goodin said, adding that Fredine’s husband, Rich, would come by the library and pick up the books for his wife.

She smiled a sad smile and then reminisced about the going-away party the library threw for Fredine last summer.

“We will have to say good-bye to her again on Thursday,” Goodin said.

Funeral services for Fredine are set for 11 a.m. Thursday at the East Campus of Salem Evangelical Free Church, 1111 30th Ave. S., Moorhead.

Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. today, in Korsmo Funeral Chapel, Moorhead.

Sandra Storey, who moved to Moorhead in 1999 and has been a regular at the library, said Fredine was always ready to help whenever she had a question.

“It’s been a friendly place,” Storey said.

Janelle Brandon, marketing director for the regional library, said Fredine was fond of genealogy and family research, and often taught others how to find out about their history.

Fredine, an early adopter of technology, helped the Moorhead library transition from traditions like the card catalog to computers, Brandon said. Under Fredine’s stewardship the Moorhead library was first among LARL libraries to adopt self checkout, she said.

Instead of handing people loads of information, Fredine’s approach was to “empower people to find it on their own,” Brandon said.

Fredine funeral, memorial fund set

The Moorhead Public Library will open at 2 p.m. Thursday to allow staff to attend the funeral of longtime library director Anne Fredine, who died Saturday.

Memorials to benefit the Moorhead Public Library can be sent to the Anne Fredine Memorial Fund, LARL, 118 5th St. S., Moorhead, MN 56560.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

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