Friend of the Year

Retired librarian Maureen Marx honored by The Friends of the Charlestown Branch Library

By Lynne Byall Benson

Recently retired and longtime head librarian of the Charlestown Branch of the Boston Public Library, Maureen Marx, will be honored by the Friends of the Charlestown Library as this year’s Friend of the Year on June 27.

Maureen Marx.

Maureen was born and raised in Watertown MA, the oldest of nine children.  At sixteen years of age, Maureen got a job as a “shelver” at the Watertown Library, shelving books.  This first position ignited a lifelong love of libraries and the support they provide their respective communities.  According to Maureen,” This opportunity opened up a whole new world for me, and my parents were very happy I found something I could be passionate about.” 

This was in the 1960s, a time when service to one’s community was fostered in greater society. In Maureen’s case, this ethos was reinforced by her parents and the Dominican nuns who educated and mentored her in Watertown.

As the first in her family to attend college, Maureen graduated from Boston State Teachers’ College (now UMass Boston) in 1974.  She had decided that majoring in elementary education would give her the foundation necessary to becoming a children’s librarian, and she went on to Simmons College for a degree in library science, graduating in 1976.  That year, Maureen and her husband bought a house in Charlestown and Maureen felt “she was home”.  Indeed, she found out later that her father’s family had lived in Charlestown since the 1850s.

In 1977, Maureen came to the Charlestown Branch as the children’s librarian, where for five years she got to know and mentor the children in Charlestown, where she found them not unlike her large family when she was growing up.  She got to know their parents, who encouraged their kids to use the library.  She traveled around to the Charlestown schools and Head Start Programs, introducing new books, reading to the students, and coordinating library programs with teachers. 

In the early 1980s, Maureen’s career trajectory took her the North End Branch, where she continued developing community relationships and coordinating children’s programs as well as the founding of a women’s discussion group.

Next was one year at the Field’s Corner Branch.  Finally, in the mid-1980s, Maureen returned “home” to the Charlestown Branch as the head librarian.  She continued the mission of strengthening ties to the community, further developing children’s services, and supporting teachers; all while building the library’s book collection. In addition, she mentored the professional growth of her staff along their respective career paths.

The introduction of computers in the library brought about new and exciting challenges as information-gathering evolved from local to global.  Meanwhile, Maureen and her staff successfully adapted to these technological changes.

Maureen mentioned that the Friends of the Charlestown Branch Library have greatly supported the Charlestown Branch Library’s success in programming for adults, events with authors, as well as children’s programs, and is grateful for the financial support of this organization.

The Friends honor the career of Maureen Marx, whose dedication to her profession and commitment to Charlestown has been superlative.

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