648 Main Street
Shrewsbury, MA 01545
Phone: 508-845-6226
Fax: 508-842-0061
Bonnie O'Brien

Bonnie L. O'Brien

Tuesday, June 30th, 1942 - Friday, March 13th, 2020
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Bonnie L. O’Brien, 77, longtime Shrewsbury resident, passed away unexpectedly on Friday March 13, 2020.

Bonnie was born on June 30, 1942, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to the late William T. and Louise (Tobey) O’Brien. Her life-long love affair with libraries began when she was a young girl. Bonnie was an avid reader. In high school, she started as a volunteer and then was hired to work at the Portsmouth Public Library.

Upon graduation from high school, she attended the University of New Hampshire and graduated in 1965. She went on to attend Drexel University and earned her Masters degree in Library Science. Upon graduation in 1967, with 10 – 12 job offers, she said yes to a position at the Worcester Public Library, allowing her a chance to begin her career and be near her family. In less than a year, she was the head of Children’s Services and the Bookmobile.

In 1978 Bonnie was appointed the Director of the Shrewsbury Public Library. She was immediately involved with the building project that remodeled the Artemas Ward Annex and the original 1903 building and created an addition. Bonnie was one of the twenty-eight librarians who joined together to organize and develop C/W MARS, a library consortium in central and western Massachusetts dedicated to efficient resource sharing and rapid access to information. She was a member of the American Library Association and the Massachusetts Library Association. During her tenure as president of the MLA, Bonnie saw the need for and established a section for paraprofessionals. She was elected to the MLA Hall of Fame in 2010.

Upon her retirement in 2004, then assistant director George C. Brown noted, “Bonnie brought a lot of experience, and she’s seen this library through many years of fantastic growth.”

Bonnie was an active member of her community. She served as a member of town meeting, Tower Hill Botanical Garden, the Shrewsbury Garden Club, the Shrewsbury Historical Society, and a supporter of many local causes. Bonnie was a woman of faith and active in her church community.

Bonnie is survived by her sister Bette Kirby and husband Rick of Oconomowoc, WI, and her sister Bev O’Brien of Northborough, MA. In addition to her siblings, she is survived by her niece Lisa Kirby-Mangas and husband Bob of Middleton, WI; nephew Brent Kirby and wife Jenna of Cleveland, OH; grandnieces Maggie, Jenny, Abby, Mira, and grandnephew Ever.

Funeral services for Bonnie are forthcoming, and will be held in the summer.
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Funeral services for Bonnie are forthcoming, and will be held in the summer.


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Private Condolence

Elizabeth Greene

Posted at 08:13am
Bonnie was a very sweet person and I was glad to have the chance to see her again at the lunches at The Dinnerhorn the past few years. Rest in peace, my dear

Nancy Hughes

Posted at 10:06am
Bonnie was such a supporter of all social justice issues in our area. She donated her time, talents, and treasures to so many of us. We will miss her dearly. Rest in Peace

Harry Roger Williams III

Posted at 09:15pm
Look at that smile! I met Bonnie in 1972 and that's exactly how I remember her. She was among the first to welcome me when I moved from NYC to begin my career at Worcester Public Library. She was a hard and dedicated worker, but a friend to all and a credit to our profession. Condolences to Bonnie's sisters and family. My life is richer for having known her.

David and Patricia Dick

Posted at 04:49pm
Bonnie has been a friend to our family ever since she worked with our mother Marian Stanick at the Worcester Public Library so many years ago. She was a loving friend to our Mom and to all of us, including children and grandchildren. She never forgot a Birthday or Anniversary to this day. Her kindness and compassion, humor and love remain with us now and forever. She is an exemplary role model of friendship and Faith.

Karin Underkoffler

Posted at 03:07pm
Bonnie was dedicated to the Shrews bury Historical Society serving on the Executive Board for many years, rarely missing our executive board meetings and membership presentations . She was a pleasure to work with; I am going to miss you Bonnie!

Rest in peace... Karin Underkoffler

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