The Passing of Margaret Carty
Dear Members of the Maryland Library Association,
It is my very sad duty to tell you that our Executive Director, Margaret Carty, passed away last evening after a brief illness. We are heartbroken.
Margaret became the Executive Director of MLA in January of 1999. She did far more than lead the Association—she built it from the ground up. From afar, she was a brilliant non-profit leader and library advocate. Those of us who were fortunate to work closely with her knew her kindness, generosity, and ability to inspire and support everyone she came into contact with, especially new library leaders. Her loss feels too near at this time to be able to convey all that she means to us, but in the coming days and weeks, I look forward to honoring and celebrating her legacy in Maryland libraries with you.
Please keep the Carty family, as well as Kate and Sara—our MLA office staff—in your thoughts and prayers. As we move through these difficult days, we will provide more updates. You are welcome to get in touch with me directly if you have any questions or concerns.
P.S. A special MLA conversations will be held on Friday, February 12 at 3 PM to remember Margaret. Please register to attend.
Dear Maryland Library Community,
We have received details from Margaret’s family regarding arrangements. A beautiful tribute and many photos of her life can be found here: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/annapolis-md/margaret-carty-10042792.
The family will hold a private service this Thursday and hopes to celebrate her life with us at a later date in the summer or fall. Donations in her memory have been directed to the Cary Library in Maine, a place that is very special to Margaret and her family.
Thank you to our many members who have reached out to us and to the Carty family with sympathy and support. It is a testament to her incredible legacy in Maryland Libraries. Margaret’s sons, John and Bill, have asked us to share the following letter with her friends and colleagues. Truly, hers was an incredible life of service, challenges met and overcome, deep friendship, unparalleled dedication, and one-of-a-kind experiences traveling the world.
From John and Bill Carty
We want to thank all of you for the outpouring of emotion over our mother’s death. She came to the Library community later in life, but for the past 20 years has embraced you all as her extended family. As we are sure many of you know she grew up in a Navy family and served as a Naval Officer herself until John came along. She took time off to raise three boys, then reentered the workforce and went back to school to earn a Master’s Degree while in her 40s.
On the day she walked into MLA, Mom was brand new to the Library field. Most of her exposure to that point came from her sister, Alice who served a full career as a Librarian at the Naval Academy. Mom jumped into the Library field with both feet and became passionate very quickly. Along the way, she developed strong relationships which have touched many lives. She put in place controls, won management awards and established traditions. Mike Miller, former President of the MD State Senate, who was also a big supporter of Libraries, branded MLA with the tongue-in-cheek moniker, The Library Mafia. We always chuckled over my mother being one of the leaders of the Library Mafia.
We also always chuckled over how many of you pointed out that, “of course, nobody says no to Margaret”. That’s not a bad quality in an Executive Director. That would be how both John and Frances came to serve on the CML board. It also explains why so many of you joined us for the annual family vacation at the old family homestead in Houlton, Maine. We absolutely loved having you join us. For those who did not come north, this wasn’t on the seacoast where the tourists are. It’s the last exit on I-95 before you hit Canada, it’s way up there.
We want to thank all of you for the friendship, community, fellowship, and sense of family you gave our mother. It pains us that we can’t celebrate her properly yet because of COVID. Next summer or fall, when the world feels safer, we will hold a celebration of our mother’s life. This week, she will be laid to rest at St Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Annapolis.
Mom was a big supporter of the Cary Library in Houlton. Instead of sending flowers, we ask that you consider making a donation to the Cary Library in her name. https://www.cary.lib.me.us/donations
Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers. We know our mother is looking down on us with love and will always be there with us.
John and Bill Carty