By Mollie LaSalle
Editor’s Note: The Booster is pleased to present “Getting to know you…” a series of profiles of Tyler County residents. The first batch of these features focuses on the administrative staff of the Allan Shivers Library and Museum.
The Allan Shivers Library and Museum has been serving the residents of Tyler County for 58 years. A lot has changed over the years, and still some things have remained the same. The complex has expanded and updated over the years, most recently with the renovations to the museum and the remodeling of the library.
Rosemary Bunch was the director of the complex for more than 25 years, and she was the driving force behind the addition of the “John and Rosemary Bunch Reading Room” which was opened in the summer of 2010. Bunch passed away in June of 2020, and with her passing, the library took on new faces, with new titles.
ASLM is led by a team which includes Kay Timme, director; Roschelle Springfield, museum manager and Carolyn Williams, who is the assistant director and head librarian.
Williams took a detour on her path to becoming ASLM’s assistant director/ head librarian. She attended school in Kirbyville, and after graduation, went to work at the newly opened Gib Lewis unit as a correctional officer, a job she held for six years, from 1999 to 2005.
She also worked at a daycare in Warren for three years, from 2010 to 2013. She earned an associates degree at Angelina College while employed with TDCJ, went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Lamar University, and ultimately got her master’s degree, in Library and Informational Science in 2020 from Texas Woman’s University.
She arrived at ASLM in late 2014 and was hired on as a back desk worker. Within a year, she moved up to become Bunch’s assistant.
Williams said “I was doing double duty for half the pay for a short time”. After Bunch’s passing in June 2020, Williams was named interim director. The ASLM governing board decided to restructure the format of the library in early 2021, and Williams was named assistant director and head librarian.
In addition to her duties at the library, Williams was elected to serve on the Ivanhoe City Council last November, adding to her already full plate.
She has been passionate about her role in “exploring, connecting, and creating” all the services ASLM has to offer everyone who walks through the door.
“Libraries are information centers, if you pick up a book and don’t read it, what’s the point of having it on the shelf. When you read a book, you see yourself in the characters, it’s like looking in a mirror, you see a reflection of yourself. I may never go off to India, but I can pick up a book, movie, or audio book and explore a whole new world, I get very passionate about the library and the learning experiences here,” Williams explained.
She added, “our current thing is making sure everyone knows who we are as a library and museum and knowing what we have available”.
She added “I wish somebody would’ve explained to me exactly what librarians did. I was under the impression like a lot of people that you check in and out books; books are a part of it, but it’s not the entire thing. Connecting people with that information and connecting people to each other is a really good thing. Working here, I started seeing all the little background things that we did, and the more interesting it became.”
ASLM offers several programs for all ages; they are currently in the middle of their summer reading program. The libraries summer reading program was previously only scheduled for six weeks during June and July. The format was changed this year, and it runs through June, July and August. Williams is super excited to be able to offer so many new and different events during these months; she wanted to promote their first ever “Trivia Night”, which will take place June 20 from 5-8 p.m., “our first evening event, free for ages 14 and up”, she added.
Another change was the annual used book sale, which was held every May. The library staff opted to hold one every Friday. Proceeds from the sale of used books go towards the purchase of new books, so it’s a win-win situation all the way around. They always accept donations and when you donate new books, they scour the shelves, remove older books that haven’t been checked out for years, and move them over to the used book sale. This way, there’s something fresh and new every week.
The library is open Monday through Friday from 9-5, and Saturday from 10-2, so drop by and take advantage of the many resources your library has to offer and get to know the friendly faces behind the desk. They will go above and beyond to assist you.