Centre named after Mary

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ONE of the key figures in Hartlepool’s library service will be remembered in a special ceremony.

Mary Hoban was the town’s reference librarian for 37 years until her death in 2004 at the age of 61.

During that time she used her knowledge to help many thousands of library visitors and also played a varied role in the wider cultural life of the town.

Her contribution will be remembered through the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in the recently-refurbished local studies area of Central Library in York Road on Wednesday, October 26, at 3.15pm, where Mary worked for many years.

The ceremony will be performed by Councillor Carl Richardson, chairman of Hartlepool Council, who will also rename the local studies area as the Mary Hoban Centre for Local Studies.

Organisers say anyone who knew Mary is very welcome to attend the event.

Through her job, Mary was able to contribute to a number of special projects, including masterminding the town’s successful bid for the prestigious “Port Cities Hartlepool” project to create an online record of items from Hartlepool’s maritime heritage.

She also advised on the British Library’s regional newspaper preservation project.

‘Newsplan’ and in the 1980s was involved in the project to restore the warship HMS Warrior.

Mary was also a longstanding member of Hartlepool Citizens’ Advice Bureau, Hartlepool Archaeological Society and Hartlepool Music Society and helped to manage the Cleveland Council of Churches Unemployment Programme, creating jobs for young people.

Coun Richardson said: “Mary was very well respected and had a remarkable breadth and depth of knowledge.

“She knew where to find everything in the reference library and was a great help to people studying even the most unusual of subjects. This commemoration is a fitting tribute to her skills and dedication.”

Graham Jarritt, the council’s library and community manager, added: “There are so many people who remember Mary, and so many generations of Hartlepool children and teenagers who were helped by her when completing homework or studying for exams.

“For the staff in the library she will always hold a special place and the Mary Hoban Centre for Local Studies will be a permanent reminder of her contribution to the town.”

Library users should note that the local studies area of the library will be closed while the commemorative event is taking place.