Saturday, May 7, 2011


Margaret Markovics came to the United States from Hungary with her mother at the age of six. 

She first studied librarianship at Washington Irving High School, where the instructor was Louise P. Fritz, a former NYPL Branch Librarian.  Markovics was appointed to Grade D, an entry level position, at NYPL upon her high school graduation in 1917.  She later took extension classes at Hunter College and received her certificate from the NYPL Library School in 1922.

Although she was described as one of the “best Senior Assistants” in 1922, she had a slow rise to become the head of a branch.  That delay was the result of limits that the City of New York imposed on promotions during the difficult budget years of the Great Depression and then World War Two. 

Markovics changed her name to Margaret Marks in 1941.

Margaret Marks served as acting head of the Westchester Square Branch, 1942-1948.  She was finally promoted to full Branch Librarian in 1949 at the Tompkins Square Branch and retired in 1954.

In her annual reports at Westchester Square, Marks recorded the ethos of many public librarians.  As she described it in 1943: “we never turn a reader away without putting him on the trail of his book or questions.”  Two years later she rephrased it, adding the financial consequences of the approach: “Our rule is never to allow a reader to leave without an answer to his question.  Our telephone bill tells the tale.” 

May 7th would be the 113th birthday of Margaret Markovics Marks.

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