For the Joe and Mary Conroy family, Flint Public Library created possibilities. Their family of seven didn’t make regular trips to the bookstore because that was not financially feasible. Instead, they took full advantage of their library.
Joe Conroy took great pains to read newspapers and magazines cover to cover, which served him well throughout his life. After a career in sales and involvement in the civil rights movement, Joe served in the Michigan Legislature for 22 years as a state senator and representative. He developed his opinions on public policy and politics through reading, and he continues to keep up with current issues and debate through the printed word.
Mary was a first-generation American whose parents were born in Lebanon. She was a nurse, nursing instructor, and nursing administrator who inspired a generation of Flint nurses in her long career at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Mott Community College, and Genesee Memorial Hospital. Her love affair with reading also started at a young age, when she was a student at Dort Elementary School on Flint’s north side. She still consumes one or more books each week, and she remains a frequent visitor at the Friends of the Flint Public Library Used Book sales.
The Conroy family demonstrates the compelling power of habits learned when children are young. The Library was part and parcel of the Joe and Mary Conroy household. Now the parents’ passion for reading has become a family legacy. All five of Joe and Mary’s children love reading for pleasure, for stimulation, and for life improvement, and the next generation of grandchildren continues to carry on this love of reading and learning. Reading has changed who they are and expanded their academic and professional opportunities.
The Conroys believe that the Library is an essential spark that ignites a child’s passion for reading and learning. It is entirely fitting that this commitment is honored through the Senator Joe and Mary Macksood Conroy Room in the Children’s Learning Center. Flint Public Library is a remarkable place for children of all ages to spend time immersed in books, surrounded by people who will help nurture their curiosity. The Conroys hope that the discoveries made in this room will encourage children to learn, grow and achieve as vibrant members of our communities.