Prince George’s Co.’s ‘Hard Hat Librarian’ to retire at the end of this year

Michael Gannon is retiring at the end of 2023, after 40 years working in local libraries.(Courtesy Prince George's County Memorial Library System)

A 15-year employee of the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, credited with overseeing 10 major renovations of existing library branches and the construction of five new ones, will retire from his role at the end of the year.

Michael Gannon, the library system’s chief operating officer for support services, has worked in local libraries for the last 40 years, according to a PGCMLS news release. He got his start as a library page in Anne Arundel County, before earning his master’s degree in library science at the University of Maryland.

Gannon went on to serve as a library associate, librarian, branch manager and head of administrative and borrower services in Anne Arundel County’s system before moving over to PGCMLS. Aside from his role as chief operating officer for support services, he has served as co-CEO twice.

During his time with PGCMLS, Gannon oversaw the construction of the system’s South Bowie, Laurel, Hyattsville, Bladensburg and Baden branches.

The South Bowie Branch Library, which opened in 2012, was the first major building project Gannon oversaw. It was the first PGCMLS library to include a drive-up window and a fireplace.

The Laurel Branch Library opened in 2016 and marked another PGCMLS debut: a walkable glass floor in the children’s area, with dinosaur bones underneath. For his work on the branch’s design, Gannon received the 2018 Library Building Award from the American Library Association and the American Institute for Architects.

More recently, Gannon won an AIA Baltimore Chapter Award for the New Carrollton Branch Library.

Another career highlight has been his “Hard Hat Librarian” series, which consists of humorous video updates on PGCMLS construction work. The project won PGCMLS the ALA 2023 Core PR Xchange Award, which recognizes library public relations materials.

Gannon has also earned Honorary Membership from the Maryland Library Association for his contributions to the organization, including his service as the organization’s president and vice president, involvement in the state’s Library Associate Training Institute and readers’ advisory training, and his annual performance as Pub Quizmaster at the organization’s annual conference.

More than 100 guests attended Gannon’s Nov. 30 retirement celebration, which featured a proclamation from County Executive Angela Alsobrooks’ office and a County Council certificate of recognition from District 5 Council woman Jolene Ivey. His fellow PGCMLS colleagues and other collaborators acknowledged his innovative vision and kind heart.

Antonio Rebelo, an architect with Grimm + Parker — a firm that has collaborated on multiple PGCMLS projects — spoke to how Gannon’s “pursuit of excellence has actually elevated the way we design libraries in our region and beyond, both for us, as well [as] for other library systems.”

Gannon “made all of our jobs easier, more interesting and fun,” Maryland State Librarian Irene Padilla said at the ceremony.

“To us, Michael was a good boss and a good man, and we will miss him in our office,” said Colin Khem, business analytics manager for PGCMLS. “It will not be the same without him.”

Gannon reflected on his four-decade library career at the event, noting how the internet has empowered librarians to do everything from answer questions more quickly to help patrons look for work and public benefits.

“We can have more impact on people’s lives now than we did then,” he said.

As other employees in the Prince George’s County library system enter their final days with Gannon on staff, “at least they can say Michael gave us beautiful restrooms,” he joked during his retirement celebration.

Kate Corliss

Kate Corliss is a Digital Writer/Editor for She is a senior studying journalism at American University and serves as the Campus Life Editor for the student newspaper, The Eagle.

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