Marg Bakker was born at a time when the average life expectancy was 59 years, a new car cost $610, the average income was $1,652, a movie ticket cost 25 cents, gas was 10 cents a gallon and a loaf of bread sold for 7 cents. It was the years of the great depression, with Herbert Hoover as President of the Untied States, and was followed by World War II, that shaped her environment and introduced her to the world. Pearl S. Buck's book "The Good Earth" was the book of the year. Ms. Buck was a champion of civil rights, women's rights, children's rights and the rights of those with disabilities. Within this historical backdrop, was shaped a woman of responsibility, an individual verbally apt at stating things as they are, and that prepared her for the endearment of the written word within books.

By the time Marg was 16, she had developed such a love of books that she decided to obtain a work permit so she could work after school at the Colton Library. This old library still stands in majestic white in towering height as a small town icon of stability to what once were so very long ago; a place of meeting, a place to acquire knowledge and a place to read in quiet. It was here that she dutifully learned to put books back on the shelves, in their correct place, of course, and continue her pursuit in the love of books.
When we think of the girl next door in the 1940s, we think of Donna Reed, June Allison or Irene Dunne. However, Marg's husband, Percy Bakker, has identified Marg as "his" girl next door. Yes, 58 years ago, Percy moved in next door to Marg's home and she quickly caught his eye. The courtship began and soon after, they were exchanging vows at Marg's home, in front of the old fireplace, before friends and family. The happy union resulted in a family of children who learned to be good readers. Are we surprised?

In 1957, Percy and Marg decided to move to a one-horse-town, out in nowhere, with a name no one could pronounce or spell -- Hesperia. Only a couple years before, a dirt road was turned into a two lane paved road, and Main Street was lined with next to nothing, except Owens Market, the old white house and the railroad tracks that ran across the street requiring the flow of traffic to having to stop every time the train passed. The old Highway 66 led over Cajon Pass to what seemed like a frontier town, with people asking, "Why are you moving to Hesperia?" A simple question was answered by a simple answer -- Percy's brother had started a lumberyard business and he had asked Percy to come and work for him. So the little family rented a house, and after two years, they decided to stay in the windy town, of juniper shrubs and flash floods, along with buying a new home, which they live in to this day.

The town of Hesperia was growing, not by leaps or bounds, but growing never the less, with the children and locals having no access to books. For a while, the book mobile traveled to the town twice a week, so the children could check in and out, books from a very small selection. This concerned Marg, along with the Kiwanis Club members, and a dream began to form, which piloted to a project to establish a one-room library, which was donated by the Juniper Elementary School. So in 1961, Marg's love of books, led her to become the first volunteer librarian for the town of Hesperia. A book drive was announced and the community responded with book donations numbering up to 8,000. With her librarian skills, Marg set-up the first established Hesperia Library; two afternoons a week, the children came to the library room to check in and out their books of choice, and the general public were invited as well, to the one-room library two evenings a week, to share in the acquisition of learning and quiet reading. After three years, the library was closed because the classroom was no longer available, but Marg was not finished -- she collected and stored many of the books in her garage, at home.

For Marg, life was an adventure just like in all the stories she had read. It was to be lived as a participant, not as a bystander. She demonstrated this by being a Girl Scout Troop Leader, from which the girls learned responsibility through camping skills along with setting and achieving goals for badges. However, she said, "The most important thing they learned was to have fun." She felt life was a ride to be enjoyed and so she took her troop to the peaks of the local mountains, the depths of the valleys of the deserts and the shorelines of the beaches. Picnic lunches, Sunday drives and adventures to Disneyland and Sea World were all a part of the curriculum of having fun. She loved walking and hiking, and generated the same in others. Years later, when on occasion, she would meet one of those girl scouts and they would always mention "what fun they had while in her troop" which always brought a warm smile to her face and still does! "I have very happy memories!" she says.

In the early 1970s, again Marg spearheaded another one-room library, which now stands as a local church. This time the county was in support of a local library for Hesperia. The county provided books and Marg prepared to work setting up yet another library. Marg's focal point in life was the children and she initiated children's reading programs and reading contests. Though the building was very small, it was always teeming with people coming and going. Quiet small talk, could be heard about the local community businesses. Everyone seemed to know everyone. It was a place of welcome and the smell of worn books. Generally, Marg was the one person there, and someone who knew her then, described her as a "people person."

Even though Marg had earned a bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts, she preferred working in areas that required less attention to herself; she said, "I am a doer and a worker," she liked more of the hands-on part in all jobs. However, her talents were many, as she worked for the Park Department for 20 years as their Craft Director with an ability and talent for -- knitting, leather work, lead glass, weaving from a loom and even spinning wool from sheered sheep coats. Even now, she collects unique paperweights, gardens in a room filled with plants and soil and collects figurines of cats, displayed on an elegant glass shelf. She is a woman with a mind that is always active and mentally alert, even though she has had difficulty verbally expressing herself due to a stroke. As she struggles with her stroke deficits, she still laughs with a sense of humor, she endeavors to correct mistakes, when interpretations of conversations are wrong, and she sends a message with her eye contact, that she is a forthright as ever. Indeed, she is a woman to emulate and pattern one's lifestyle and values after.

Again in the 1980s the library was to be moved to the corner of Seventh and Main Street, to an area with somewhat larger space than the last. So she continued her life's work, by reading two to three books a week, for appropriateness of usage within the county guidelines for the possible induction into the Hesperia Library. Her favorite books were action adventure stories, so the movie stories like "Raiders of the Lost Art" were nothing new to her. The mysteries of the Agatha Christie series kept her in a state of suspense with wanting to know who did it, with what and where. She said Erle Stanley Gardner, who wrote the Perry Mason series, wrote her most favorite mysteries; Mason lives in the perennially popular courtroom classic that put thrillers on the map. Gardner lives in the cases of: The Deadly Toy, the Horrified Heirs, The Fugitive Nurse, The Haunted Husband and the Stuttering Bishop. And so, Marg lived through them making everyday events an adventure.

When Marg was asked what her advice would be for parents today regarding the quality and content in encouraging their children to read better, she made the following suggestions: "We need to correct poor reading parents, because poor reading parents influence a lack of reading in their children. Setting the example of reading is of utmost importance for children. Good readers come from parents who read to them and show an interest in reading." Jimmy Stewart, who was one of Marg's favorite actors, would have said to her, in his slow drawl, "Marg, it sounds just like you! Right on-the-money every time!"

Of course, Marge was one of many in support of the new library, which entailed bond issues, matching funds, private funds and working with the Hesperia City Council. When she was asked what one word she would use to describe the new library, she said with a half smile and a gleam in her eye, "Spectacular!" And so we leave Marg riding beside Percy in their old 1948 Jeep, rolling long on those back roads of the high desert and mountains looking for the next adventure.