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Thursday, Sep. 3, 2015

Happy 101st Birthday to Mary Ropp!

Posted Saturday, December 22, 2012, at 4:00 PM

Mary Ropp was the librarian at the Worthington-Jefferson Township Public Library when I was in school, encouraging reading, and the arts too.

I remember one time she put on a little art show with the works of a budding student artist named Joe Lee. He went on to a career in art including those political cartoons you see in the Bloomington paper. I read an interview with him several years ago -- he mentioned the support and encouragement he received from Mary as being very important in his continuing to pursue his path toward art.

We don't recognize our librarians often enough but they can really have a big influence on the children who go to libraries just to visit, or to read or check out books, or participate in a special reading program.

I've been lucky to have had some wonderful librarians over the years but Mary was the first.

Mary was there every day for years and years, a constant presence in the lives of those of us in my generation who visited the library regularly -- and so part of our memories of growing up in such an idyllic little small town that seems so far removed from the worries of today's world.

Mary was graceful -- tall and thin, and always seemed so elegant to me. She had little reading glasses and when she wasn't using them, they were always close at hand attached to a necklace.

The door to our old Carnegie library was big and heavy. Once inside, I'd climb the stairs and there would be Mary peering out over the desk with a smile.

The old floors would creak as you walked across, and there was a constant ticking from a big grandfather clock -- it's still there.

Back in a corner in front of the tall windows, there was a big rocking chair -- my favorite place to sit and look out toward the downtown. Life seemed so peaceful when I was at the library.

Mary's library's was always very, very quiet, except of course for the ticking and creaking and sometimes the sounds of those old rockers.

Yes, like Marian the Librarian in the Music Man, she was everything a librarian was supposed to be.

Thanks for all the years you were there every day, and all the memories we have of when you were our librarian.

Happy 101st Birthday Mary Ropp!

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Anna Rochelle is editor of the Greene County Daily World and can be reached on Facebook or by sending an email to indianarose@fastmail.us.