After 46 years at the , local librarian Margaret Duran has retired.
Duran is 82-years-old and says she has been an active member of the community “for more years than she can remember.”
Duran began her professional library career in Sierra Madre in 1966, after completing graduate courses in Library Science at Immaculate Heart University in Los Angeles. She quickly became known as a champion of literacy and for her un-rivaled reference expertise. A committed library advocate, she frequently gave public “book talks” emphasizing the importance of reading, always alerting patrons to new and noteworthy library acquisitions.
Duran's exemplary research, evaluation and cataloguing skills are indelibly “stamped” on the Library’s 24,000 volumes of reference and non-fiction works. Up until her retirement, she was responsible for selecting and maintaining the books in these collections.
Duran is the author of several booklets on the history of Sierra Madre, including Sierra Madre Public Library: Our Story (1976), Sierra Madre Library 1887-1987: A Centennial Celebration , and A Story of a Quilt, written in 1977 when the Sierra Madre Historical Quilt was unveiled.
The quilt project was one she helped conceive and coordinate, which was a two-year, community-wide effort celebrating the U.S Centennial. Sierra Madre citizens designed and sewed quilt squares representing the City’s organizations as well as scenes and qualities unique to the town. On March 29 the colorful but now-fragile quilt was brought out of storage and displayed in the library in her honor.
Duran loves to travel, and over the years she shared some of her adventures in five Travelers and Collectors presentations held at the library. Her program highlighting her experiences attending the extravagant and “scandalous” wedding of her friend, who happened to be a British Earl, to a beautiful Brazilian banker, garnered the all-time highest attendance (175) for the popular armchair travelers series.
Duran is a familiar face at Sunday Mass at St. Rita Church, where she regularly serves as a Eucharistic minister and lector. Though retired from the Library, she continues to don her “librarian cap” every Friday morning, as she has for decades, volunteering at the Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center where she maintains the center’s collection of theological works.
Duran’s service to Sierra Madre didn’t stop at the library. She has been an active volunteer in the community, and in 2009 received the prestigious Sierra Madre George Maurer Lifetime Service and Volunteer Award.
Duran and her husband David have been married for 60 years and have lived in town for most of their life together. They raised four children in Sierra Madre.