Everyone at CLiF was saddened to learn that longtime CLiF Advisor Mary Jane (MJ) Manahan passed away earlier this month at 61.

MJ was a founding member of the CLiF Board of Advisors and served from 1998 to 2008. The Advisors serve as CLiF’s programming ‘brain trust’, and MJ brought a wealth of library and bookmobile experience to that role. She was always full of energy, opinions, and ideas. She was never shy and always overflowing with enthusiasm.

In 1993, MJ became children’s librarian at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, where her lively storytimes regularly drew more than 50 preschoolers, parents, and grandparents. Amid readings, songs, and craft projects, she introduced science, history, literature, sign language, and even cooking. She directed children’s services for a generation at the library. During her tenure from 1993 to 2008, she was instrumental in every phase of a major construction project that transformed the children’s library. The “Children’s Room” moved from a damp basement in the 1896 building to the second floor of a $2 million wood and granite addition, the Patrick Leahy Wing, which was completed in 2001.

MJ played a key role in securing a federal grant to create the Kellogg-Hubbard bookmobile in 2003. The program, run in conjunction with the library at U-32 High School and Wheels transportation agency, provided literacy support to families in Berlin, Calais, East Montpelier, Middlesex, Montpelier, and Worcester. MJ served on committees of the state library association and as vice president and president of its group called CAYAL (Children and Young Adult Librarians) in 1994 and 1995. She also co-chaired the 1996 Vermont Library Association statewide conference.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the Kellogg-Hubbard Library, 135 Main St., Montpelier, Vt. 05602, designated for the Mary Jane Manahan Memorial Fund.

We remember MJ for her energy, ideas, and big smile and for all her contributions to CLiF’s growth and success over the years. We will miss her very much.

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CLiF has served over 350,000 children since 1998.

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