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December 13, 2023


Andrea Castillo

(301) 699-3500 x6158

Prominent Maryland library leader Michael Gannon announces retirement

Largo, Maryland – After 15 years of service to the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS), Chief Operating Officer for Support Services Michael B. Gannon will retire from his position at the end of the year. In his time with PGCMLS, he has overseen facilities, safety and security, information technology, procurement, collection strategy, and business intelligence. Most notably, he has supervised 10 major renovations of existing branches and the construction of five new branch facilities: South Bowie, Laurel, Hyattsville, Bladensburg, and Baden.
Throughout his time in the system, Gannon has become known for his humor and candor, as well as his attention to detail for building design and appearance, leading to awards and accolades for libraries in the system, including the 2018 Library Building Award given by the American Library Association (ALA) and the American Institute for Architects (AIA) for the Laurel Branch Library, and more recently, an AIA Baltimore Chapter Award for the New Carrollton Branch Library. His “Hard Hat Librarian” video series, in which he provides humorous yet informative updates on the system’s construction projects, won an ALA 2023 Core PR Xchange Award for PGCMLS. 

During a Nov. 30 retirement celebration that included accolades from colleagues across the system, county, and state, Gannon joked, “When I leave, and [the staff] talk about me — which they will — at least they can say Michael gave us beautiful restrooms.” 

More than 100 guests attended the event, which also included a proclamation from County Executive Angela Alsobrooks’ office, a County Council certificate of recognition from District 5 Councilwoman Jolene Ivey, and remarks from PGCMLS Board of Library Trustees member Toni A. Smith on behalf of the board, among other speakers.

In all, Gannon’s library career spans more than 40 years, getting his start as a library page in Anne Arundel County. Accepting that position would put him on a path that would change his life: meeting his wife, Joanie, and changing his career trajectory away from the counseling psychology master’s degree he earned at Loyola University Maryland and toward another master’s in library science at the University of Maryland instead. He moved up the ladder as a library associate, librarian, branch manager, and head of administrative and borrower services in the system where he got his start, before moving on to Prince George’s County, where he worked as COO for support services during his tenure, and serving as the acting co-CEO on two separate occasions.

Among the most notable projects during his time at PGCMLS are the construction of the South Bowie Branch Library in 2012, the first major building project Gannon oversaw and the first branch to include a fireplace and a drive-up window, and the Laurel Branch Library, which includes dinosaur bones buried under walkable glass inside the floor of the children’s area. While he noticed some adults were nervous to walk on it, Gannon said he was pleased to see children excitedly jumping on the glass on the branch’s opening day in 2016.

Gannon was always very involved in the design process of each library project, and his vision for each one made the final result better, said Antonio Rebelo, architect with Grimm + Parker, a firm that has worked on several construction projects for PGCMLS. 

“His 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,” Rebelo said. 

Gannon has also made a name for himself in the library world in the readers’ advisory realm, earning him the Public Library Association's (PLA) 2003 Allie Beth Martin Award, and even wrote a book in 2004 to guide more readers, “Blood, Bedlam, Bullets, and Badguys: A Reader's Guide to Adventure/Suspense Fiction.” Gannon, a fan of mystery, science fiction, fantasy, suspense, and horror stories, said readers’ advisory gave him an opportunity to connect with and interact with readers — whether or not they liked his recommendations. 

One of the biggest differences Gannon notes between his earliest days in libraries and today is the availability of computers and internet access, which majorly impact the services staff are able to provide to customers, from being able to answer reference questions more quickly, to having more time to plan storytimes and other programs, and helping people looking for jobs or applying for public benefits.

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

Gannon wraps his final year at PGCMLS with Honorary Membership from the Maryland Library Association (MLA) for his contributions to the organization and throughout his career, including for his involvement in the state’s Library Associate Training Institute (LATI), readers’ advisory training, serving as the organization’s president and vice president, and other leadership roles, as well as entertaining crowds as Pub Quizmaster at MLA’s annual conference year after year. He also received MLA’s Outstanding Member Award in 2004.

“We so much appreciate everything that Michael has brought to Maryland libraries and how he has made all of our jobs easier, more interesting, and fun, so thank you, Michael,” said Maryland State Librarian Irene Padilla. 

While there was never a dull moment working with Gannon, he always treated the employees in his department fairly and with respect, said Colin Khem, business analytics manager for the system.

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

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About the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System

The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) helps customers discover and define opportunities that shape their lives. The Library serves the 967,000+ residents of Prince George’s County, Maryland through 19 branch libraries, a 24/7 online library, and pop-up services throughout the community. PGCMLS is a responsive and trusted community-driven organization. Programs, services, and outreach activities serve book lovers, immigrants and refugees, job seekers, children, young professionals, seniors, and families alike. PGCMLS is the recipient of the 2021 Urban Libraries Council Top Innovator Award for Workforce and Economic Development. Learn more at