Erie librarian led story time for generations of patrons

Charlotte Wright, former Erie librarian.
Charlotte Wright, former Erie librarian.

ERIE -- Charlotte Wright, who as town librarian read stories to preschoolers, guided students, and recommended books for every taste over a career that stretched from card catalogs to digital databases, died Saturday at Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Toledo. She was 79.

She had cancer the last year, her sons Karl and Tim said.

Mrs. Wright retired in 1998 from the Erie Branch after nearly 30 years with the Monroe County Library System. As her last day on the job neared and patrons came by the branch to offer thanks, a sign was posted: "Erie Library will never be WRIGHT again."

"She was very pleasant, very easy going," said Shirley Cousino, who was an assistant.

Mrs. Wright was a substitute for Erie and Luna Pier branches until an opening allowed her to become the Erie librarian. The branch was in the Erie Township hall basement. She led the collection above ground and into daylight, overseeing a move in the mid-1990s to space in the new township hall.

She was steeped in her collection and, as a service to book-hungry patrons, stayed current on upcoming releases.

"She could remember who went on vacation [and] what books they liked," Mrs. Cousino said. "She just remembered everything about everyone."

Mrs. Wright led students to the materials they needed to finish homework projects -- and "she didn't do it for them," Mrs. Cousino said. She set summer vacation reading programs. 

"My kids practically lived up there," Mrs. Cousino said. The weekly story time was a highlight for her and the township's preschool children.

"Most of the town of Erie, their kids at one point were in the program," son Karl said. She knew it might be time to consider retirement, she told The Blade in 1998, when she saw generations of the same family listen to her read.

The library's move away from a card catalog brought Mrs. Wright into the digital age, and in retirement she had a home computer that she used for games, email, and the internet.

She was a former president of a local crafting group, the Dozen Doers, and sewed her own clothes. She played the popular songs of her youth and church hymns on the family piano.

She was born Oct. 23, 1933, in Erie to Mary and Thomas "Hap" Kaiser. She was a 1951 graduate of Monroe High School and was a former telephone operator. After marriage, she was a stay-at-home mother and homemaker for several years. She and her husband, LeRoy, had been trophy-winning members of the Black Hawk Motorcycle Club in Temperance. She enjoyed family vacations at the Blue Jay Lodge, a log cabin an uncle owned near West Branch, Mich. 

Surviving are her husband, LeRoy, a former Erie Township Supervisor, whom she married Aug. 21, 1954; sons, Karl and Tim Wright; brother Marvin "Barney" Kaiser, and two grandsons.

A celebration of life is to be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Merkle Funeral Service, Erie, where friends will gather starting at 3 p.m.

The family suggests tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio or the Alzheimer's Association.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: or 419-724-6182