To the editor:
For the past 34 years, the city of Cloquet has been very fortunate to have a most knowledgeable, capable, dedicated and invested director of its public library. Mary Lukkarila is passionate about the library and the many ways it serves the public. She worked hard to raise awareness in the community about the many contributions libraries make to society, and in particular, how the Cloquet Public Library has been important to the growth, prosperity, and social life of the community dating back to its early lumbering days.
Mary became well-known and respected throughout the state as she worked to find fair and equitable ways to increase and maintain funding for libraries, and to ensure that their mission remained top of mind at the state level.
From coming in on weekends to check the boiler or make sure the parking lot was plowed, to fighting against censorship, to constantly updating technology and reading materials and maintaining the physical building, Mary held to the highest standards.
As a former library board member, I can tell you she continually looked for ways to inspire children and teenagers, provide services for the elderly, and find ways to engage the public through programming and workshops, all while ensuring that basic needs and future planning were taken care of.
Yes, we have been fortunate indeed. I think all library board members, past and present, would agree with me when I say, "Job very well done."
Congratulations, Mary, and best wishes for a long and happy retirement. Your legacy will live on.