As children gathered for storytime at the Magnolia library today, someone was missing. Although the kids didn’t totally grasp what was going on, parents and staff did. The children’s librarian who had read countless stories to countless children since 1971 wasn’t in her familiar spot. Zane Goldmanis unexpectedly passed away last week at the age of 67.
“She was an icon in the community,” said library branch manager Lisa Scharnhorst. “Generations of people had Zane as their children’s librarian.”
Goldmanis was born in Latvia in 1943, a time of incredible hardship for her family. Her sister Mary Miller tells us the family fled Latvia during World War II as the Russians moved in. The family often hid in the woods to avoid detection.
Eventually, the family made its way to the United States when Zane Goldmanis was 6 years old. Goldmanis lived on Anderson Island where she attended school in a one room schoolhouse. She later went on to Roosevelt High School and the UW before working at Boeing. During a Boeing layoff she went back to school to become a librarian, a passion she dedicated her life to for almost 40 years.
“Her whole reason for living was to reach out to children and share a love of books,” said Scharnhorst.
Staff members at the Magnolia library have set up a display in the lobby to honor Goldmanis, including a memory book that parents and children can sign. Some of Zane’s favorite books are also on display, including one called 97 Ways to Make a Baby Laugh. Library staff members say it’s fitting for a woman who made so many children laugh through the years.
A memorial service for Zane Goldmanis will be held at some point in September when her entire family can attend. You can also sign this online guestbook.