Anyone who uses the Havre de Grace Library regularly knows branch manager Irmgarde Brown.
Brown, who’s been with the Harford County Public Library system for 28 years — more than nine leading the Havre de Grace branch, is retiring effective Jan. 1.
She was recognized during the Dec. 18 Havre de Grace City Council meeting for her work at the library, including overseeing design and construction of and transition into the new branch, as well as her volunteer efforts in the city.
“The library is going to be a little bit different without you,” Mayor William T. Martin told Brown. “Irm, thank you for everything.”
Brown, who became branch manager in August 2008, said it’s been wonderful working at the library, where she’s developed a family and deep friendships.
A background in theater, Brown said she never planned on working in a library, a place she escaped to as a child.
She used to hug the shelves, “hoping all the words would come into my body,” she said. “I forgot that until I started working at the library.”
The Havre de Grace Cultural Center volunteer will be going on a six-week mission trip to Zambia to help build a library, she said.
“I’m very, very excited to take what I know across the sea and maybe make a difference in other people’s lives,” she said.
The mayor presented Brown with a Havre de Grace flag and a challenge coin, making her the first person to receive a second coin.
She was given one when the new library at Union and Pennington avenues was dedicated in June 2016.
“In your travels, if you ever meet anyone you believe deserves it, hand it to them on behalf of the city of Havre de Grace,” Martin said.
Not only did Brown help with the design and planning and supervise the opening of the new building, she also had to direct operations in a temporary location on Market Street during the period when the new building was under construction on the site of the former library.
Councilwoman Monica Worrell said Brown has been a “dear friend” for years.
“She will continue to give,” Worrell said. “The world will be so much better for all the heart she is giving it.”
Amanda’s Florist honored
The Mayor and City Council also recognized Amanda’s Florist which is celebrating its 30th year in Havre de Grace.
Martin said Amanda’s is a landmark. Anytime he’s outside of Havre de Grace and they ask where something is — a hotel, restaurant, business — they ask where it is in relation to Amanda’s.
Amanda DiDomenico-McFadden was surprised at the meeting by Melanie Mussman, wearing a wedding dress from Edel’s in Havre de Grace. Mussman, a college student and model for Edel’s, got flowers for all her high school dances from Amanda’s.
Frank McFadden said he’s very proud of his wife.
“To be in business 30 years is quite an accomplishment,” he said.
Amanda McFadden grew up above the Bayou Restaurant, he said, and she wanted to run the restaurant one day but her parents sold it.
“So she opened a business just as challenging,” he said.
Also at the Dec. 18 city council meeting, Jennie Horn and Wynona Hilton-Stanley were appointed and sworn in to the Havre de Grace Arts Commission.
Volney Ford was reappointed to the Havre de Grace Planning Commission and James W. Walker was reappointed to the Street and Traffic Safety Advisory Board.