Friends of the Oakhurst Branch Library will hold a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony for the “Sue Rhu Children’s Room” at the Oakhurst Library at 3:30 p.m., Sunday, May 3, following her memorial service.
Rhu and her family moved to Oakhurst in 1970, and she served as the library’s branch manager for 24 years (1972 - 1996). She passed away in Reno April 7, at the age of 84.
Rhu was the first branch manager in the new library built in 1977. The old, much smaller, library was under the County Court House on Civic Circle and Crane Valley Road (426), just a block away. Rite Aid occupies that area now.
“Under her leadership, Friends of the Oakhurst Library was established to support our library’s needs beyond the funding from the Madera County budget,” said Candace Flammang, president of the FOBL. “There were many hurdles to open and stock a new library with books and furniture, but she got it done. Those were different times - only one staff member, Sue, and originally one volunteer, Genie Krieghoff. The new library blossomed under the guidance of Sue. She was also a strong defender of our branch library’s needs when dealing with the Madera County Board of Supervisors.”
Rhu and Ginny Dane started the Mountain Area Literacy Council in 1987, and Rhu also assisted Elaine Paisley in setting up the Madera Ranchos Branch Library.
A sign bearing Rhu’s name, provided by the friends of the library, will be placed over the doorway to the children’s room, which is off the main floor of the library. Inside the room will be a photograph and biography of Rhu to share good deeds.
“Sue’s name has been added to the Friends of the Library Memorial plaque,” Flammang said. “The first name on the plaque is Phillip Rhu, Sue’s husband. It honors members, donors and employees who have been close to Friends of the Oakhurst Branch Library.”
First library in 1910
The first Oakhurst library service was established in 1910 in what was then known as Fresno Flats Station, and was located in various grocery stores in the area. In 1960 the book collection was moved to the old Fresno Flats school building, which is now a part of Fresno Flats Historic Village & Park on School Road (427).
This school was built in 1874 at the corner of what is now Civic Circle and Road 426 and was the second school in Madera County while it was still part of Fresno County. Rhu worked as Branch Manager in this facility from 1972 until 1977, when the new library was built at its present spot on Civic Circle next to the Fresno River.
- Staff report