Former head librarian’s memory to go on at Franklin branch

Published 10:37 am Friday, July 25, 2014

FRANKLIN—Former Head Librarian Patricia Clark was a special person to a lot of people. The Friends of the Ruth Camp Campbell Memorial Library knew they wanted to do something in her memory, but it was only a matter of what.

Lois Minetree, left, with her friend, the late Patricia Clark, former head librarian in Franklin. In remembrance of Clark, the Ruth Camp Campbell Memorial Library will install a gazebo for its patrons. -- FILE PHOTO

Lois Minetree, left, with her friend, the late Patricia Clark, former head librarian in Franklin. In remembrance of Clark, the Ruth Camp Campbell Memorial Library will install a gazebo for its patrons. — FILE PHOTO

Finally they decided to install a gazebo near the library, where patrons could read outdoors, said Barbara Edwards, president of the Franklin Friends of the Library.

“She was very passionate about the library,” Edwards said. “She thought everyone should go to the library and check out books — all different kinds of books. And you could always count on her for a good book recommendation.

“I don’t know what it is about a shared love of books that brings people together, but it does.”

Bonnie Roblin, Franklin’s branch manager, said the friends of the library are good to the system.

“I know that the gazebo is going to look beautiful out there and really enhance the whole property,” she said. “It will be a place for people to sit and relax.”

Roblin was also fond of Clark.

“We just loved her to death, and we miss her terribly,” she said. “She would come in here several times a week and just brighten up the whole place.”

Clark was also a mentor to Roblin and other members of the staff.

“I could call her at any time with a reference question, or about someone in our community or did she know of a resource for a certain thing — she had a vast knowledge of the history of the area,” Roblin said. “If she did not know it, she would always find out.

“She would also just come in and talk to me, and the other staff members. She was so sensible and down to earth. We really miss her here.”

Clark began working as a librarian when the library was in the Pace House in 1964. She became head librarian in 1976 and served in that role until her retirement in 1996, when the library had moved to its current location at the Ruth Camp Campbell Memorial Library. Along with Lois Minetree, she co-authored a history on the library. Clark died on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014.

Minetree said her friendship with Clark went back to the 1970s. Minetree started volunteering at the library on Wednesday afternoons, and when a position opened, Clark hired her.

“She was funny, outgoing and she loved people,” Minetree said. “She used to take time to sit with them and talk with them. She was especially fond of the youngsters. She was always interested in interacting with them.

“She was also a wide-ranged thinker and doer. Anytime I needed help, the library was the place to go.”

Installation of the gazebo is going to cost around $2,500. In lieu of flowers, Clark’s family had requested that donations be made to the library in her memory. Those funds, along with the balance being made up for by the friends, will go toward installing it.

“I think the gazebo is a lively idea,” said Minetree, who serves on the Friends of the Library Board. “It will be appreciated by the public, and I think the youngsters are going to like it.”

Since the library is on city property, approval also had to come from city council. The item came before council on Monday, July 14, and was passed unanimously.

Edwards said she and Clark started out as acquaintances at the library due to Clark’s excellent recommendations. Then, it blossomed into a friendship after a particular recommendation.

“One day, we were talking about a book about the opera,” Edwards said. “She said, ‘Oh, I love the opera. But I don’t go anymore because I don’t drive at night.’

“I told her that I’d love to go to the opera with her, and that I could drive because I wasn’t worried about driving at night. Our friendship deepened over the years.”

They also spent time together on the Friends of the Library’s Board of Directors, where Clark had served as treasurer and membership chairman. When Clark had retired, she also immediately returned to the library as a volunteer.

“She volunteered until she died,” Edwards said. “She loved every day that she spent in the library, and we loved her.”