Longtime Mercer Island children’s librarian, known to many patrons as Miss Margaret, will be saying goodbye to the Mercer Island community at the end of June to take a new position as a school librarian for Hope International School in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The Mercer Island Library will host a farewell party for Margaret Martin between 2 and 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 30, at the library. The community is invited to drop by to share some memories, songs and cake. Local award-winning songwriter and performer, Nancy Stewart, will give a special performance at 2 p.m.
As a children’s librarian, Martin has greatly valued working in the Mercer Island community.
“What a privilege to have been able to connect with so many wonderful library patrons of all ages and special people from the elementary schools, Mercer Island Preschool Association, Island Books, the Community Center, and the Friends of the Mercer Island Library,” she said. “It’s been fun as well to watch my story time kids grow up over the years. The Mercer Island community is a special place, where caring people make things happen. I’ve been blessed to meet so many gems along the way.”
Martin’s mother played a pivotal role in her choosing a career working with children and books.
“Mom loved books and was a great storyteller. She gave me the love of literature, and it’s been a privilege to pass it on to the youngsters I’ve served over the years,” Martin said.
Martin began her library career in 1976 working for $2.69 an hour as an overdues clerk at the Edmonds Library. She quickly rose through the ranks, wearing many hats, as assistant librarian, children’s designate and page supervisor.
In 1989, Martin followed a heart’s desire to work with a group providing outreach to orphanages, prisons and leper colonies in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. After her travels, she returned to library service but soon realized that she wanted to pursue her master’s degree in library science and devote her life to instilling her love of literature in children all around the world. She obtained her MLS from the University of Washington in 1992. She has worked over 20 years for King County libraries — the majority of time serving in the Mercer Island community.
Martin’s international library volunteer work also includes travels to India to work in a theological library, China to set up an elementary library with a colleague from Lakeridge Elementary, and Thailand to set up a school library in Chiang Rai. She will begin her new venture to Cambodia on Aug. 1. Her suitcase, filled with books, will accompany her.
Miss Margaret’s Bon Voyage is between 2 and 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 30, at the Mercer Island Library. Music with Nancy Stewart begins at 2 p.m.