In honor of , Novi Patch decided to profile one of the library’s best: Margi Karp-Opperer. You might know her as Miss Margi.
A favorite among children, Karp-Opperer served as the head of the youth and teen department before moving to the position of assistant director of public services four years ago. Yet, she says she still makes time to spend with children.
“She can do her administration work and still work with the kids,” said Director Julie Farkas. “She hasn’t forgotten where she came from and started, and I think that makes a good leader.”
Karp-Opperer’s love for working with children began when she was an elementary school teacher. Now she’s going into her 19th year of work at the Novi Public Library.
She’s seen the construction and transition to the new building, changes in the city and several different school administrators and superintendents come and go. But through it all, her passion for getting children excited about reading has remained strong.
She said she loves the creative part of working with children, like story time or crafts.
“I really love it when I can see the kids express themselves. So whether it’s a play that they’re watching and then we talk about it after or a puppet show, I like the interaction, the exchange. I learn from them, and hopefully they learn from me, too,” she said.
Karp-Opperer, who lives in West Bloomfield, has spent many days doing events with kids, including reading stories with her favorite companion: Cuddles.
Cuddles is her dog puppet, who tends to steal the show. Karp-Opperer said she gets notes from children that illustrate their love for the dog.
“Dear Miss Margi, Your stories were great, but Cuddles was better,” one read.
Farkas said that even though she has only been at the library for four years, she knew of Karp-Opperer’s reputation and how patrons react to her. She said Karp-Opperer keeps connections with families and children for a long time.
“I think it’s amazing and a huge compliment when parents come in with their students and they still call her Miss Margi,” Farkas said. “She’s left an amazing mark when it comes to child’s services, which is where her heart always is.”
Karp-Opperer said she is touched when people come in and say they remember her, which happens quite often.
“It is kind of amazing that they remember those things. It’s a beautiful tribute. I feel very honored and blessed that they do,” she said.
Karp-Opperer also said she likes to see when the children continue to come back to the library through their teen years.
“The thing that makes my heart just beam is one, that they remember, and that they are so comfortable in the library. I’m just one small part of that,” she said. “I mean, obviously, the moms and the dads are beautiful for bringing them here all the time, but that’s the joy and that’s what you want. You want them to love reading and have it be a lifelong love."
Today, as the assistant director, Karp-Opperer spends more of her time overseeing the librarians, doing outreach with the community and making partnerships, among many other things. But her passion for the library has never faded.
“I think you can tell that I love this place,” she said. “I know it’s work, but it’s the best kind of work.”