A lover of books since childhood, Connie Lawman says she has found a library home at the Paris Public Library.
“I have made it my goal over the past 10 years to work at all kinds of libraries, and that goal has been met,” Lawman said, as she explained that she has worked for public school, community and college libraries. “I also made it my goal to find a home library, and this library is exactly what I’ve been looking for in a community where I can put down my roots and raise my children.”
When asked what attracted her to Paris, Lawman was quick to respond.
“This library. It’s the most beautiful library I have seen in my life and reminds me of a Carnegie library,” Lawman said of the structure built in 1932 and renovated and expanded in 1985. “Many libraries are not architecturally pleasing, but this library just screams architecture from the 1930s. The addition was done in such a respectful way that any outsider wouldn’t know where the old ends and the new begins.”
Taking over duties in August, Lawman said she first spent time getting to know the staff and getting a feel for the programs already in existence, which primarily focused on children.
“Other than its history and the beauty of the building, I was attracted here because I believe I have a lot to bring to the table,” Lawman said. “I love programs for all ages, so I’ll be adding programs for teenagers and adults to go along with the already successful children’s program.”
Now in her fifth month, the librarian has added craft programs for both women and for teenagers with plans to begin a teenage book club soon. See the accompanying information box for the schedule of programs planned for February.
A lover of book clubs, Lawman hopes to begin clubs for teenagers, adults and families. She kicks off an adult book club at 5 p.m. Jan. 31 with 15 women enrolled to discuss “At Home in Mitford,” the first in a series by New York Times bestselling author Jan Karon. Those who signed up for the club received paperback copies of the novel.
“It’s a funny story with funny characters in a small town like Paris and has a family feel,” Lawman said. “I think there are 14 books in the series, so we are going to try to tackle one book a month and see how it goes.”
Lawman complimented both her staff and Library Advisory Board members for the support she has received. Board members appointed by Paris City Council include Steve Hellmann, Eva Dickey, Jennifer Cullum, Melanie Loughmiller, Lauren Mathews, Amy Watson and DeEtte Cobb.
Staff members include Ron Hervey, library supervisor; Tracy Clark, children’s librarian; library paraprofessionals Judy Vickers, Jerry Jarrell, Rebecca Taylor, Lena McIntyre; and clerks, Nathan Crawford, Mary Maxfield, Paula Rater and Louise Webb.
“Everyone has been very welcoming and helpful,” Lawman said of both her staff and community members. “Everyone has been super nice and no one has been standoffish. I get lots of smiles here at the library, and I have not heard one negative thing about Paris from my children, which means a lot.”
A stay-at-home mom for many years before pursuing higher education, Lawman is mother to a 17-year-old son, a North Lamar High School junior, a 15 year-old daughter and North Lamar freshman, and an 11-year old son, in fifth grade at Bailey Intermediate School.
Originally from the Tyler area, Lawman attended Tyler Junior College, where she first worked in a library, and later attended LeTourneau University in Longview to earn teacher certification. She earned a masters degree in Library Science from Texas Woman’s University in Denton in 2013.
Her library career has taken her to Bullard as public library director, to Tyler Public Library as a reference librarian and to Winona ISD as librarian. Also, to Jacksonville College Library as director, and more recently to Shreveport, Louisiana, as director at Northwest Louisiana Technical College.
Lawman reiterated her intention to make Paris home.
“I am putting roots in the ground and I have told the board and my supervisor, assistant city manager Robert Vine, they would have to kick me out to make me leave,” Lawman said.
Mary Madewell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6976 or at email@example.com.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.