I got surprising news today that Pattie Mayfield was retiring earlier than expected as director of the Honey Grove Library & Learning Center in Honey Grove, Texas. I called Pattie right away to tell her how much we have admired the many contributions she has made during her remarkable tenure at that library. She thanked me and assured me that she would still be active in Texas libraries, which I was happy to hear.
In a state with many wonderful librarians making a difference every day in communities of all sizes, on campuses of higher education, and in K-12 schools, Pattie is special. She is a prime example that the power of the library is not dependent on the size of your library or community or budget. Pattie has demonstrated time and again that small community libraries can be vital links to education and information resources for people of all ages, for families, for businesses, for students, entrepreneurs, and job seekers. Pattie takes advantage of literally every opportunity she can to make the library vital to STEM initiatives, early literacy, workforce and economic development, and technology access. She also tirelessly encourages, supports, and champions her colleagues in other small community libraries through Northeast Texas Libraries, an informal group that grew up after the end of the systems program in 2012, and across Texas through her work on the Tocker Foundation Board.
Pattie is an outstanding librarian and she will be missed in Honey Grove. But she is not the only one. Across the state, we have many small community librarians who work very long hours for little pay against daunting odds and discouraging indifference to prove that libraries can transform communities. Thanks to Pattie and other dedicated librarians in small and rural communities, we have ample evidence that with even a modest investment from their cities and counties, and with a little help from grants and other programs from TSLAC and other organizations, libraries can fulfill a unique and vital role in the lives of people in those communities. And often, there is no other place for people to turn to find the resources they need to learn to read, to succeed in school, to prosper in their work, and to enrich their lives.
TSLAC is proud to do whatever we can to support the work small community libraries and we salute Pattie Mayfield on her last day as director of the Honey Grove Library & Learning Center.