Southfield library board appoints Mary Beall acting city librarian

By: Jacob Herbert | Southfield Sun | Published April 11, 2021

 Mary Beall poses for a photo shortly after being named interim city librarian in Southfield. Beall takes over for Dave Ewick, who held the position for 14 years before retiring in March.

Mary Beall poses for a photo shortly after being named interim city librarian in Southfield. Beall takes over for Dave Ewick, who held the position for 14 years before retiring in March.

Photo provided by Mary Beall

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SOUTHFIELD — Mary Beall has been involved with the Southfield Public Library in some capacity for over 25 years.

Starting as a part-time substitute librarian and moving up to assistant coordinator for adult services, Beall’s latest promotion has named her interim city librarian.

“It feels great,” Beall said of the appointment. “As soon as I started here way back in the day, I realized that this was the place that I wanted to stay. I wanted to be involved in all aspects of this library and make a real contribution. Getting this opportunity is a career dream come true for me.”

Beall takes over for Dave Ewick, who held the position for 14 years and retired in March. Beall received her master’s degree in library science from Wayne State University. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.

The Southfield resident started her professional career in Detroit in marketing and public relations for Omnigraphics, a library reference book publisher, and later worked in the research libraries for Nissan Research & Development and the UAW.

Beall was a visiting assistant librarian and instructor at the University of Illinois-Chicago and an adjunct faculty member for Dominican University. While in Chicago, she created the on-site full-service library for the international press at the Democratic National Convention, and she created the first web-based information clearinghouse for issues related to women and girls for the state of Illinois.

The list of accomplishments and accolades for Beall go on and on. But it was Southfield Library Board President Eunice Rose who wrapped everything into one: “She is the ultimate librarian,” Rose said. “She has been with us for 25 years and has never, as far as I’m concerned, done anything wrong. She works well with staff, she works well with the public, and she’s efficient. She is a quintessential librarian. For her to be the anchor of our library — she’s perfect for it.”

Among Beall’s laundry list of duties as interim city librarian are making sure everything stays according to schedule for the library staff, making sure books are shelved and making sure the library is neat.

Beall has also been involved in discussions on how to reopen the library. As of now, residents have access to a drive-thru window at the library. They also have access to computers on the first floor by appointment only.

“What we’re looking at is in phases, opening up more and more of the library for face-to-face interaction and browsing,” Beall said. “It’s an ongoing discussion, and we’re putting all kinds of things in place to make sure that’s done as safely as possible.”

Beall said the next step in reopening the library will be expanding the hours of services they already provide and creating a concierge service where residents can come into the library and library staff will assist them with express printing, photocopying and faxing.

Southfield Mayor Ken Siver said the city will undergo a national search for permanent city librarian candidates. Both Siver and Rose say Beall will be strongly considered as well.

“I would love it if it became a permanent position,” Beall said.

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