By Dawn M Chiossi
Chester Library recently said goodbye to their long-time Adult Programs and Communications Specialist, Mary Murphy. They wished her well in her retirement after 14 years on the job. Her last official day was February 1st.
Energetic, passionate, and community-minded; Murphy related that she began working part-time at Chester Library when her children were in middle school. “I’ve always loved libraries, but I never expected (until I’d been working here) that I’d be working in one,” she said.
Unexpected job or not, Murphy shone in it. Utilizing her background in market management as well as her BS in marketing and MBA, Chester Library took notice. Just a year later she was asked to begin developing and managing programs for adults.
“This was the start of a new effort by the library,” she explained. “Previous to that, only children’s programming was offered.”
With an attitude of confidence in herself, preparation for the job, and loving what she did, Murphy eagerly embraced the challenge of her new responsibilities. Ultimately, her efforts brought to the library a large variety of outstanding events and seminars for everyone.
“A library is a place that holds a wealth of information to make us better people,” Murphy insisted. “We tried to focus on offering programs that enhanced the cultural, educational and social lives of Chester residents.”
Murphy’s tremendous endeavors led to patrons learning a lot about different subjects. Soon they offered everything from lectures to musical programs, technical support, movies, discussion groups, book clubs, yoga, wellness programs, how-to programs, digital services and more. “Programs have been an essential part of libraries and I am happy to have been a part of that,” she prided.
With her strong desire to help the community, many of her energies were proudly focused on Senior Citizens– enhancing the quality of their years and helping them stay young at heart. In particular, Murphy says she will miss the Senior Lunch and Learn Program, which she partnered with the Senior Resource Center. The program covers many health and wellness topics for seniors, as well as so much more. “Socializing is such an important part of aging well,” Murphy pointed out.
Additionally, Murphy believed in helping Seniors to keep current with ever-changing technology; this to keep them connected to others.
Sometimes it is the smallest moments that make the most impact for others, and Murphy has never forgotten this one: “About three or four years ago, I was helping a senior learn to text. His first text was to his grandson–someone who never called him. When he received a message back just a couple of seconds later, saying ‘Hi Grandpa, glad you learned how to text,’ this man was so proud,” Murphy enthused. “He was so thrilled that thanks to this technology, he could have that instant contact with his grandson.”
Much more than a location for books, Chester Library is a community and Murphy has always enjoyed playing an active role in it. She states that she is leaving ‘to pursue other things,’ but is confident that the library will be in good hands with her replacement, Donnella Tilary.
Some of Murphy’s goals include volunteering, perhaps doing some occasional work and spending more time with her family. “I want to be able to make a difference in people’s lives through volunteering and by being a good family member and friend.”
No matter what her future holds, Murphy will still keep her passion for libraries, this time visiting Chester Library as a patron. “I will still be involved with running the book club at Chester Area Senior Housing and since I love to read, I hope to attend programs at the library.”
Whether it’s looking forward to another journey or looking back on her library career, for Murphy, it’s all about giving back. “I’ve always felt especially good about my job when I’ve been able to help others,” she shared. “I hope that I have made a difference in the lives of people in our community.”