The 2008 TLA Outstanding Services to Libraries Award was presented last week, in recognition her successful advocacy of the library to the community, to Mrs. Janie Rector of Azle (population 10,000).
In 2000, Mrs. Rector informed Azle Public Library Director Judy Whitt that she wished to do something for the community in memory of her husband, specifically A NEW LIBRARY ON MAIN STREET! After finding and purchasing land for not only the library, but also a substantial portion of a new park, she made her proposal to city officials.
Next Mrs. R formed a committee of Friends of the Library, and they visited at least 25 libraries in the area and out-of-state. Armed with disposable cameras and taking pictures of these facilities (with permission), they compiled four large annotated scrapbooks with typed notes for future reference. Then Mrs. R joined TLA, attending conferences in Austin and San Antonio to get ideas for the new library. She hired an architect and a contractor and saw that Judy Whitt was included all phases of the building project.
In her hands-on mode Mrs. R. volunteers every Monday afternoon in the present library to get the feel of library operation—working in circulation, shelving books, assisting patrons. She attends various NTRLS workshops to better understand public libraries.
In addition, this extraordinary library patron plans to furnish the building and purchase RFID technology and self-checkout in the new facility, which will open later in the year.
(The information above comes from a presentation prepared by TLA Awards Committee Member and Councilor Alternate for LiFTA.)