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Honoring and Honored by a Shirlington Patron

Lieutenant. Colonel James R. Mailler loved the Library.

In fact, he loved the Shirlington Branch Library so much that when he died in March 2011, his will included a donation to Shirlington for branch projects.

Lt. Col. Mailler’s generosity is a symbol of how much he valued the free aspect of public libraries. His nephews say that their uncle lived by the mantra “a Wall Street Journal provided by the library is one I don’t have to buy myself.”  He also frequently shared with them how much joy he received from spending his days in the Library and surrounding shops in Shirlington.

Our first project with the bequest has been to rejuvenate the Library’s back patio garden:



A memorial plaque in honor of Lt. Col. Mailler has been added to a chair to the window next to the newspapers, where he often sat. In reflection of his life and his personality, the plaque reads:

The Shirlington Library Garden

Rejuvenated thanks to the generosity of Lt. Col. James R. Mailler, U.S. Army (Ret.)
September 23, 1927 – March 21, 2011

An extraordinary man and loyal patron of the Shirlington Branch Library for many years.

We’re proud to have been such an important part of Lt. Col. Mailler’s life.



Comments (6)

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  1. [...] Officer’s Donation Noted at Shirlington Library — When Lt. Col. James R. Mailler died in 2011, he left a donation to one of his favorite places — the Shirlington Branch Library. Now Lt. Col. Mailler’s donation is being recognized with a plaque near the newspapers, where he used to spend much of his time. [Library Blog] [...]

  2. Jim Breiling says:

    Since Lt. Col. Mailler apparently greatly appreciated the periodicals (cite quote about the WSJ), I was surprised that the first part of the bequest was used to rejuvenate the Library’s back patio garden rather than using the money, in this era of financial constraints, to help maintain and enhance the periodicals and/or the ready availability of these and other parts of the library’s collection.

    • The Librarians says:


      Lt. Col. Mailler’s donation was a one-time bequest, so it is being used for smaller items that do not need to be purchased year after year. Periodicals are a recurring, annual expense, so they do not fall into this category.

      Rejuvenation of the patio garden was chosen by the Shirlington Branch Librarians and Mailler’s relatives for several reasons. All of our visitors can enjoy it – whether they’re reading the Wall Street Journal, studying, or browsing the kids collection – and the chair where he often sat looks out over the garden. In addition, Lt. Col. Mailler was himself someone who enjoyed patios and gardens. His obituary includes this line:

      “In the last years of his life Jim could be found basking in his new role as the “wise man of the patio”, glass of wine in hand, dispensing stock market advice and other wisdom acquired during his remarkable life.”

      • Marianne Milian says:

        With great joy I noticed the beautification
        of the garden of the Shirlington Library, done in honor of Jim Mailler . Jim , an
        avid lover of nature and literature , who greatly enjoyed this library, would be very proud seeing
        that his nephews and the Library Staff honored him in this way, enjoyable by everyone throughout the year.

        His one time bequest has been beautifully put to use.
        Many thanks.
        Marianne, an old friend.


        Thanks for the great work in his memory.

  3. Ingeborg Bauer says:

    Your patio garden is beautiful. It adds a cheerful note to the sometimes tedious studies inside. We owe the Branch Manager a thanks for her creativity and hard work. Ingeborg

  4. Garry Miller says:

    The patio beautification seems like a fitting upgrade in honor of Jim’s extraordinary life. Jim’s garden, where he could often be found reading, was full of sunlight, beautiful flowers, and frolicking birds and squirrels. The second place where Jim could next most easily be found was at the Shirlington Library or nearby shops. He would be honored that his nephews, and the library choose to remember him in this way. As a long time friend, I would like to say a fond thank you.

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