End of the story for Mearns librarians

Margaret Gray, left, and Joan Anderson have served the local community since the 1970s
Margaret Gray, left, and Joan Anderson have served the local community since the 1970s

Two Mearns women have reached the final chapter in a remarkable career.

Joan Anderson and Margaret Gray retired from Inverbervie Library on Saturday after service spanning an amazing 80 years.

Joan spent 40 years at the branch, with Margaret not far behind on 39 years.

They have become familiar and friendly faces at the library over the decades and were flooded with best wishes on their departure.

Senior library assistant Joan, 65, joined the service in January, 1978, and library assistant Margaret, 69, started in January, 1979.

And over the years they have built up a strong partnership.

Joan said: “She knows what I’m thinking and vice versa.”

The pair have provided an essential service, particularly for members living in rural areas who do not have a computer and rely on books.

The library of today is a far cry from the one when they started.

Joan recalled: “There have been dramatic changes. We had no phone or anything back then.

“We had to use the phone box outside for any requests and things like that.”

Margaret added: “New technology doesn’t make it any easier, because it breaks down, and when it does you go back to pen and paper.”

The women believe the library remains the focal point of the community and they fondly reflect on the many people they have encountered down the years.

One long-standing member, Wanda Paluch, said they will be greatly missed.

She added: “Throughout their time of service our librarians have provided a quality of service based on personal interest and the human touch which is in danger of being elbowed out by the ever-increasing demands of technology and bureaucracy.”

Joan and Margaret will not be lost to the branch altogether, however, as they are chair and secretary of its museum section which opened last year.