Knowledgeable and helpful, Mary K. Spore-Alhadef is a cherished part of the Redwood City Public Library community. She joined the institution as an audio-visual librarian in 1978, and transferred to become a general reference and local history and archives librarian in 2006. She continues to serve in the latter role to this day. Ms. Spore-Alhadef’s responsibilities include cataloguing and running programs.
Ms. Spore-Alhadef prepared for her endeavors by earning a Bachelor of Science from Boston College in 1965 and a Master of Library Science from Peabody College in 1966. She then garnered hands-on experience as the assistant director of libraries at Boston College, a librarian at the Weston College School of Theology and St. Patrick’s Seminary, and a reference librarian at the Graduate Theological Union Library, as well as a member of the American Theological Library Association. To share what she learned, Ms. Spore-Alhadef authored chapters in “Redwood City: A Hometown History” and the “150th Anniversary Book,” and was interviewed by Korean Television in 2018. Additionally, she was selected for inclusion in the 65th through 70th and 72nd editions of Who’s Who in America.
Reflecting on her career, Ms. Spore-Alhadef attributes much of her success to her late husband John, a librarian, clergyman and professor. He supported her wholeheartedly. She also credits her parents, who taught her the value of being economically self-sufficient, and Father Connelly, who was the director of libraries at Boston College. He wrote her recommendations for graduate school and offered her a job when she finished her education. Ms. Spore-Alhadef’s mother was the secretary to the president of the A& P New England Division for many years and her father was one of her boss’s friends.
Ms. Spore-Alhadef believes that the biggest challenge of her profession is that you need a good education to be effective at a desk with patrons because you have to know what kinds of information you can and cannot find. She worked with librarians who had very good educations and you learn by seeing what is going on in front of you. What was going on in front of Ms. Spore-Alhadef was well-educated, well-informed people with service ethics, who provided the best service they could with what they knew.
To keep up with trends in her field, Ms. Spore-Alhadef has been attending monthly meetings with the Redwood City Public Library’s archives committee since March 2019.