Beloved Local Librarian Starts Her Own Sequel at Benchmark Senior Living at Split Rock

a woman sitting with a book in front of a bookshelf

Retirement at Benchmark Senior Living at Split Rock is the beginning of a new chapter, not the end of the book, for “valley girl” Phyllis Judd.

Now retired and residing at Benchmark, an assisted living and Mind & Memory Care community in Shelton, Conn., Judd is embarking on a new chapter as resident librarian for the community.

Up until a few years ago, Judd served as a librarian in her hometown of Ansonia, Conn., a career that spanned over 50 years. For decades, she could be found helping patrons with historical research or assisting kids as the children’s librarian.

“From a young age, I was a big reader,” she said. “But it was doing genealogy research on an ancestor of mine, Ballentine Judd, who fought in the revolutionary war that really sparked my interest in being a librarian.”

Judd began her career as a first and second grade teacher at The Huntington School in Shelton, Conn., after graduating with a teaching degree from Curry College.

“I always liked the honesty and precociousness of little kids; they were a lot of fun. I treated them as if they were my own children,” she said.

After she retired a few years ago and was living at home alone, Judd fell and ended up in rehabilitation at a skilled nursing facility. It was an advisor who recognized Benchmark would be a better place for her. A few months ago, she was delighted to move-in and take on a renewed sense of purpose as the community’s librarian.

“Our community is made up of many avid readers like Phyllis. We are lucky to have a beautiful library and an engaged book club led by our director of business administration,” said Becky Gallucci, Benchmark Senior Living at Split Rock’s new executive director. “It’s been wonderful to see Phyllis go from being isolated and not very active to really thriving.”

Since she moved in, Phyllis has revamped the Benchmark library, reorganizing it, setting up a book return process and is working on facilitating specific resident requests via a mobile book service. She’s also working on cataloging a new collection of jazz CDs “Jake’s Jazz” donated in honor of a former resident.

In her spare time, Phyllis loves reading all kinds of books, but particularly non-fiction, adding to the thousands of books she’s read throughout her lifetime.

“I love living here. From the staff to the many new friends, I’ve made and the excellent food, it’s a great place to live,” she said.