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Published: Thursday, 3/13/2003

Library director used computers early on

LIMA, Ohio - Mary Ann Sadlier, 86, a former director of the Lima Public Library and an early advocate of using computers to streamline library operations, died of congestive heart failure Monday in St. Rita's Medical Center here.

Mrs. Sadlier saw real possibilities for putting computers to work at libraries in the early 1970s, and persuaded then-director John Storck to allow staff to input the library's collection on a state centralized data base, Scott Shafer, the library's current director, said.

Her support of computers achieved several things well ahead of most other public libraries, he said.

Cataloging new books and materials into the library's collection became faster and a less tedious task for employees. Lima could access the books of other libraries on the data base, and vice versa.

“Mary Ann always had a very traditional view of the library,” Mr. Shafer said. “You get the most books to the most people as quickly as possible. When you look at it that way, there was no reason to resist technology.”

With Lima's early use of computers at the library, it was a relatively simple step in recent years to put its card catalog onto computer.

Mrs. Sadlier also is remembered as the director when Ohio's collective bargaining law allowed library employees to unionize. It wasn't a move she particularly welcomed, Mr. Shafer said.

“Lima, being a union town, it was probably a foregone conclusion that it would happen,” Mr. Shafer said. “She did it with a good sense of style and with a good sense of humor.”

Born in Lima, Mrs. Sadlier joined the Lima Public Library as a children's librarian shortly after completing a master's degree in library science in 1940 at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh. She received her undergraduate degree from Mary Manse College in Toledo.

She left Lima after marrying Robert Sadlier in 1942 and accompanied him to Florida where he was assigned to military duty during World War II.

Mrs. Sadlier returned to library work in 1957, donating her services for two years to Lima Central Catholic High School to help its library gain accreditation. In 1960, she returned to the Lima Public Library where she became head of the catalog department.

In 1975, she was named assistant director and in 1980 became library director. She retired 16 years ago.

Away from work, she enjoyed sports, and attended basketball games when her son, Dan, played at the University of Dayton. She also enjoyed knitting and traveling.

Mr. Sadlier died in 1965.

Surviving are her sons, Tony and Dan; daughters, Susan Missler and Deborah Sadlier; nine grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. today in St. Rose Church. Arrangements were by the Hogenkamp Straub Funeral Home.

The family requests tributes to the Lima Central Catholic capital campaign or the Lima Public Library.



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