Margaret Danziger wants you to know the library is more than just books.
With free music and film programs, author lectures, genealogy research, and more, libraries are places that inform patrons and encourage learning, said Mrs. Danziger, longtime deputy director of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. "I think we practice democracy - information for free on any topic," she said. "If you want the pros and cons on any topic, you come to the library."
Mrs. Danziger was recently elected president of the Ohio Library Council's board of directors for 2008. The organization represents 251 public library systems in Ohio. As president, she said her biggest concern is to advocate for libraries and preserve the state's public library funding.
More than 40 percent of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library's money comes from the state, she said. In some library systems that number is as high as 90 percent.
Mike Hart, president of Hart Associates, a firm that has helped the library on levy campaigns, has known Mrs. Danziger for many years. Her new position, he said, is well-deserved. "No pun intended, she is a book full of knowledge about the library and the whole [library] system," Mr. Hart said. "I think the world about her and her abilities."
For Mrs. Danziger, who loves to read, a career in libraries was a natural choice.
A native of Kinsman, north of Youngstown, Mrs. Danziger came to northwest Ohio when her husband, Ed, was hired at Bowling Green State University.
She began working in the library system in 1977 as a cataloger. In 1982, she became head of the business department and was promoted to deputy director in 1985. She now oversees many areas of library operations, including marketing, circulation, youth services, adult services, and the branch libraries.
"I think a public library is just a fantastic place to work," she said. "It's just a good match for what my skills are," adding that it allows her to balance being both creative and practical, by coming up with ideas then working out the logistics and nitty-gritty details to carry them out.
Mrs. Danziger said while books are clearly a key part of the library, she sees libraries more as crucial community institutions.
"What we really are is a place that enriches minds," she said, pointing out that libraries are a place for children to learn, a quiet space for reading and study, and a place that preserves the past through older books as well as local history archives.
When not at work, she enjoys reading everything from books about cooking and gardening to nonfiction about the criminal justice system.
She also gardens, plays the piano, and listens to music - her taste runs from country to the pop group ABBA to classical - and spends time with her husband and two children.
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