Carol E. Dausch, a Baltimore County librarian who did much to make libraries welcoming places for children, died Monday of colon cancer at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. She was 64.
Mrs. Dausch, who was manager of the Rosedale branch at her death, left a legacy as a voracious reader, master storyteller and beloved colleague at the numerous libraries where she worked during a 20-year career with the county system.
"I always admired her because she was a role model to all professional librarians," said Pat Palermo, Rosedale's assistant manager. "She was very wise, kind and compassionate, and she recognized every staff member, even if they had the smallest job. She was the complete leader."
Carol Emily Erdmann was born in Aberdeen, S.D., a town of 1,500 people where her parents owned a general store and did electrical and plumbing contracting.
"She was an avid reader from an early age," said her daughter Gretchen E. Michaels of Glen Burnie. "My grandmother loved to tell stories of finding her in bed reading at night with a flashlight under the covers."
She graduated from high school in rural South Dakota and attended Valparaiso University in Indiana, graduating in 1963 with majors in English and religion.
After her yearlong internship at Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Baltimore, the congregation chose her to be its full-time director of youth activities. The lone dissent came from a young law student, Michael Joseph Dausch III, who thought the position was not needed. The two married a year later.
Mrs. Dausch worked at the church for 3 1/2 years, leaving when her first child, Gretchen, was born. She remained a devoted member of the congregation, teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir and starting its day care center.
In the early 1970s, amid racial tensions in Baltimore, she and her husband were leaders in merging the predominantly white church with mostly black St. Matthews Lutheran Church.
While working toward her master's degree in library science at the University of Maryland, College Park, Mrs. Dausch volunteered and did part-time work for the Baltimore County system.
After graduation, she began working in branches around the county, including Arbutus, Woodlawn, Pikesville, Towson, Rosedale, White Marsh, Essex and North Point.
Two years ago, she was named manager of the Rosedale branch, where she worked to improve community outreach and children's services.
"She was the driving force to make the children's area more child-friendly," Ms. Palermo said.
She created a toddler's corral -- where youngsters could turn the pages of board books and sit on rocking chairs within a gated area -- and a teen section with comfortable chairs. She was also a popular story-time reader, a talent that carried over to her life as a grandmother.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Our Saviour, 3301 The Alameda.
Mrs. Dausch is also survived by her husband, who operates a Towson-based practice in real estate and estate planning; another daughter, Laura C. Reiners of Hunt Valley; a son, Michael J. Dausch IV of Westminster; a sister, Elsa G. Felten of Evanston, Ill.; and seven grandchildren.
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