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Smithsburg librarian retires

September 04, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

SMITHSBURG

It might seem a little odd, but Pat Monahan's first foray into the Smithsburg Library was with a paintbrush in her hand.

"In 1977, Marie (Funk) asked me if I would paint some shelves in the old library," Monahan said.

From there, she began working part time and became manager of the library. She retired in July, after more than 24 years on the job, including her final year at the new Smithsburg branch of the Washington County Free Library in Veterans Park.

In the early days, Monahan, 62, would substitute for Funk and Elizabeth Wolfe.

"I got my library training when I became library manager," she said.

Born in Washington, D.C., Monahan moved around a lot with her U.S. Navy pilot father, who once flew Bob Hope on a USO trip.

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"When he retired, he wanted to go to Montana," Monahan said. But after a year, the family moved to Hagerstown.

A North Hagerstown High School graduate, Monahan said she went to seven schools without ever moving - thanks to redistricting and population changes.

"I was going to be a legal secretary but I went to work with the government at Fort Detrick in Frederick (Md.) instead," she said.

There she met and married Jim and had two children.

"I was a stay-at-home mom for a couple of years," noting the family has lived in Smithsburg for 38 years.

When she began her work at the library, Monahan said she never considered it just a job.

"I loved it," she said.

Smithsburg Library Board spokeswoman Judith Ferro said Monahan has many devoted patrons who will miss her.

"She has given lots of personal service, such as bringing sick patrons books before or after her work hours," Ferro said. "She watched for new books coming in and would call patrons whom she knew would be interested in the new title."

Monahan said she plans to continue those personal services because she enjoys contact with the library patrons so much.

"At the old library, many people could walk there," she said.

The new library is quite a hike, so she said she will be glad to continue providing service to patrons.

Monahan and her family got involved in activities in Smithsburg, most notably the Poker Runs, which were fundraisers for the new library.

Jim Monahan, retired from the Maryland Correctional Training Center, would map out the precise mileage. Their son-in-law would cook, and daughters Kelly and Kim also would help out.

The grandchildren managed the prizes and kept the drinks on ice, Monahan said. Even the library patrons took part in the events.

Now that her retirement is a reality, Monahan said she will be working in her garden and growing tomatoes and peppers. Her husband has a small orchard on their property.

At her recent retirement observances, Monahan was the recipient of QVC gift certificates from the Washington County Free Library, Smithsburg Library Board, and Smithsburg Mayor and Council. A dinner was held in her honor.

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