Thanks to the work and support of Ms. Janie Rector, one of its residents, Azle has a brand new library with all-new furnishings and technology as well as an adjacent park. The community has planned a three-day celebration, June 26-28, for the library's grand opening. (See http://www.cityofazle.org/ and http://www.ntrls.org/downloads/41653Invite.pdf for details.)
Whether you make it to the grand opening ceremonies or not, I HIGHLY recommend that you attempt to visit this library at some point.
Ms. Rector is the recipient of this year's NTLP Benefactor of the Year award and also won the 2008 TLA Outstanding Services to Libraries Award in recognition of her successful advocacy of the library to the community (population 10,000). Here's some background information from the LiFTA event which included that award presentation:
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. volunteer[ed] every Monday afternoon in the previous 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 furnish[ed] the building and purchase[d] RFID technology and self-checkout in the new facility.