We have lost a good friend. Marlys O’Brien is the reason we have a library in Pine River. She is the reason we have a Kitchigami Regional Library system at all. As a young woman she rode around the countryside carrying books to farmers and their families when they were too busy to leave the fields.
During the 1960’s she worked with the state of Minnesota to create the Kitchigami Regional Library System which serves Beltrami, Cass and Crow Wing counties. The Head office was and is located in Pine River.
When I first came to live at the Pine River Library, the Regional Library had just move out of the building that was once an old clinic with the remainder of the librarians “headquartered” in a garage next door, the book mobile parked in a portion, the front of the building being The Pine River Public Library.
I lived in the alley behind. Muriel and then library assistant, Don Corbin, took me in. Marlys had already retired at that time, but she was a friend to all.
Among the wonderful things about her including her love of her library was her love of people. She loved to do story time for the children and was especially fond of stories about frogs.
There were birthday parties for the staff each month honoring whoever had a birthday in that particular month. Everyone would cluster around the table in the back of the building (garage) and have coffee and cake.
And! If you worked at the library you got your birthday off! That was Maryls’ doing.
Marlys had a book review program on the radio as well. She would check out piles of books looking for just the right one to review on the radio.
After we of the Pine River Library moved to our new building, Marlys would come in often. She always treated me well, saying, “Browser always knows how to make a friend.” So did you, Marlys. So did you.
Take a minute out of your day to thank your lucky stars that the world has been blessed by people like Marlys O’Brien.
Until next time, I remain...
Browser, the Library cat
Printed in the Pine River Journal 26 June 2008