Retired since 2019 after accruing more than 50 years in the field of library science, Mary K. Spore Alhadef most recently served the Redwood City Public Library in California as a general reference, local history and archives librarian beginning in 2006. She initially joined the Redwood City Public Library in 1978, where for several decades, she excelled as an audio-visual librarian. Earlier in her career, she was a reference librarian for the Graduate Theological Union Library in Berkeley, California, from 1976 to 1977, and a librarian for St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, California, from 1973 to 1976 and for the Weston College School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 1968 to 1973. She commenced her professional career at her alma mater, Boston College, where she served as an assistant to the director of libraries between 1966 and 1968.
Ms. Spore Alhadef was born and raised in Boston and, as a local Bostonian, she recalls that her first passion was reading about local history. As time in her early life progressed, she desired to become a history teacher. Shortly after graduating from high school, she enrolled in Boston College, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in 1965. During her time at Boston College, she understood that the only courses available for women in the 1960s were in nursing or teaching, and also discovered that school districts desired male teachers who could also serve as football coaches. During this realization, Ms. Spore Alhadef worked in the college libraries, where she found what she considers her “true calling.” Upon earning her bachelor’s degree, she received letters of recommendation from the director of libraries at Boston College, Father Connolly, which provided her the opportunity to enroll in library school. Matriculating in Peabody College, she received a Master of Library Science only 11 months later in 1966.
Alongside her primary career responsibilities, Ms. Spore Alhadef served as a longtime member of the American Theological Library Association between 1969 and 2009 and, since 2019, has sat as a board member of the Archives Committee for the Redwood City Public Library. To complement her career success, she has also spent time authoring chapters in the books “Redwood City: A Hometown History” and “150th Anniversary Book,” and was most notably interviewed by Korean Television in 2018. Although her career has been suffused with highlights, she is especially proud of working at St. Patrick’s Seminary, where she was responsible for moving its collection of books and archives to Cambridge.
Ms. Spore Alhadef retired at the age of 75 and has thoroughly enjoyed her career in librarianship. Grateful to have spent a lifetime doing what she has loved, as well as helping others along the way, she attributes much of her success to the support and encouragement of her late husband of 28 years, John Alhadef, who was a librarian, clergyman and college professor.