Zakaria Mukhtar was just looking for ways to fill his time after retiring from his career in human resources at Johnson & Johnson when he happened upon San Marino’s Crowell Public Library. It was July 2008 and the facility had been open for just six months when he walked through its modern electric doors.
Nearly 14 years later, the library clerk retired.
“Zak wanted some productive part-time work,” said Jeff Plumley, circulation manager at the public library. “We hired him as a library page to shelve library materials and to help with ‘other duties as assigned.’”
The beloved native of Malaysia, Mukhtar performed more than his share of “other duties” during his tenure at Crowell. On his final day, co-workers and patrons wished him well on the next chapter of his life.
“Because Zak was always a conscientious and hard-working member of the shelving crew, he was later promoted to library clerk,” said Plumley.
“As a library clerk, Zak had considerable interaction with library patrons, mostly checking in and out library materials and creating library cards. He often utilized his sense of humor and ability to speak multiple languages to make sure a visit to the library was always pleasant one. We will miss Zak’s dedication and enthusiasm for his work, his kindness, and of course his sense of humor,” he added.
A poster lovingly placed at his work station at the library’s checkout desk on his final day acknowledged his multilingual skills.