Enter to learn. Go forth to serve.
“Enter to learn. Go forth to serve.” These are the words carved into the arch that Mary Hancock Hinds walked through every time she entered Long Beach Polytechnic High School as a student. Mary heard the message loud and clear and went on to become a true champion of education and community involvement in Long Beach.
Mary was born and raised in Long Beach and has been a life-long visitor of the public libraries. She signed up for her first library card in 1949 and has since turned to the Library whenever she was interested in learning something new. Mary went on to inspire learning in countless young people. After earning her BA from Mills College and her MA from Cal State Los Angeles, she taught in Long Beach, Carson, Belgium, and Okinawa, Japan. She also worked as an education reporter for the Press-Telegram.
In 1999, Mary returned to Long Beach when her husband, Lt. Col. Steve Hinds, retired from the Marine Corps. Mayor Beverly O’Neill connected Mary with Margaret Durnin and Gene Richey who invited Mary to join the Long Beach Public Library Foundation Board of Directors. Mary contributed her many talents to the Board in various roles including Board Secretary, Co-chair of the Grape Expectations fundraiser, newsletter writer, and public relations representative.
However, one of Mary’s greatest acts of service to literacy and education came when she Co-chaired the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library Campaign with fellow Board member Rick Alsagoff. The campaign earned over $1 million in donations to support programs at the Library which opened in the Fall of 2016. The new Library is the largest and most modern of the city’s neighborhood branch libraries. It serves as a replacement to the previous North Long Beach Library where Mary received her first library card as a child.
Today, Mary serves as a member of the Board of Directors of several Long Beach community organizations including the Library Foundation, WomenShelter Long Beach, the Rancho Los Cerritos Foundation, and the Historical Society of Long Beach. She co-founded the Long Beach Human Trafficking Task Force and is a member of the Junior League of Long Beach.
A lifelong Elvis fan, Mary’s groundbreaking book, Infinite Elvis, is found in more than 150 public and university libraries worldwide, as well as the archives at Graceland. She just completed a children’s mystery novel set at Rancho Los Cerritos in the 1880s.
Mary still visits the Library to learn and serve her community.