A LIBRARIAN who was first paid £9 a week has retired after 48 years serving the public.

After almost five decades with Southend Council, Marion Brooke has said goodbye to her colleagues and leaves her role as operations manager for the libraries and museum team.

Among her biggest achievements was playing a key role in the refurbishment of the central library.

Another was being promoted to take charge of the running of all the libraries and museums.

Speaking about the refurbishment in 2000 she said: “Refurbishing the central library meant planning how to move every single book, around 100,000, on the second floor, and near-on 35,000, from one floor to another and keeping them in order.”

In 1970, Mrs Brooke got her first job at the central library having turned down many other offers, knowing the library job was the one she wanted.

She said: “I left school in the summer of 1970.

“I was offered the job in the library and I took it because it paid me £9 per week.

She said: “It’s a peculiar thing.

“It’s not like an office at all and you get to know each other very well.

“I found everyone to be very kind, supportive and caring and it’s been a real privilege to work with them all.”

Marion has decided it is time to relax and chill out.

She said: “I might get myself a dog.

“I plan on doing lots of walking to keep my fitness up so getting a dog will make me walk.”

And looking back on her time she thanked generations of colleagues.

She said: “I think the final message would be that it has been a real privilege to work with them.”

“I really do wish them every success in the future and I am sure they will do really well, they are great people.”

A spokesman for Southend Council said: “We would like to thank Marion for her years of hard work and dedication to not only the council, but to the Southend community. We wish you her all the best for the future.

“And we hope she enjoys a well-deserved rest.

“Thank you, Marion.”