Holiday Hours

Limited Library services on Thursday, December 14 due to necessary hardware and software updates. Details

The Republic Branch Library is closed for shelving renovations through Monday, Dec. 11. The branch will reopen Tuesday, Dec. 12.
Drive-up service continues during the renovations, Monday-Saturday from 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.

The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri
Local History

Book Boss

 Miss Vivian Maddox (left) and Miss Mildred Wilson. Miss Wilson was acting librarian since the death of Miss Harriet Horine.Book Boss
Bias Magazine April 8,1952, pages 20 and 21

For Miss Vivian Maddox, new head of the public library here, coming to Springfield from her former post at Hot Springs, Ark., meant leaving “my baby” and she “rather hated to leave”.  The “baby” in this case was the recently completed Garland County (Hot Springs) library building, a trim modern structure which Miss Maddox and her Arkansas colleagues brought into being only after encountering a lot of difficulties.

Miss Maddox was born in Harrisburg, Ark.  The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H.P. Maddox.  Mr. Maddox, still living there, had retired from his practice of law.  Miss Maddox was graduated from the high school at Harrisburg and received her A.B. degree from Arkansas State College at Jonesboro.  Later she earned her graduate library degree from Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge.

Her first job was as Poinsett County, Ark. librarian in her home county.  From there she went to Natchitoches, La. (oldest town in the Louisiana Purchase territory) as parish librarian, then to Monticello, Ark., as regional librarian for southeast Arkansas and then to Hot Springs.

When she arrived there on Jan. 1, 1949, there was no public library in Garland County.  A library tax had been voted the previous November and there was a private subscription library with a few hundred volumes.  The private organization turned over its assets to the public library, the books and some money which it had obtained by selling its property.  Garland County’s first public library began operations in a store building, Miss Maddox took the money she got from the private group and made plans for a building on a lot which had been donated.  Costs were sky-high.  She had to raise more money, and did, but even then there wasn’t enough to put up the kind of building she had originally planned.  “But it was a start,” she said, “and it was designed so that we could add to it, later.”

The offer from Springfield seemed to provide greater opportunities so she took it.  She arrived here March 27, rested a few days in the small apartment she took in the residence of Mrs. E.E. Dodd, at 424 East Central, and officially took over her new job April 1.  What are her plans as librarian?  What changes, if any, will she make? 

“Ask me that six months from now,” she said, smiling, “and I’ll know enough, perhaps, to answer it.  My main goal now is to get a much larger percentage of Springfield’s population to use the library.  Whatever library I’ve been in has always been the most important thing in the world to me.  I think the Springfield library will be that way.”

One project which she thinks is of great importance and which should be carried out immediately: microfilming the files of Springfield Newspapers, Inc., now filling-and soon to over flow- sets of wooden shelves in the library basement.  Since the newspapers’ own files were destroyed in the fire several years ago, the library’s is the only complete file left.  Miss Maddox thinks they should be put on microfilm, not only to preserve them for their historical value, but to save storage space.

Outside working hours, Miss Maddox is “very much interested in the drama –I worked with Community Players in Hot Springs- reading and bridge.”  “And right now I am also very much interested in finding a five-room, unfurnished apartment,” she said.
The Library Center has a scrapbook of the Midtown/Carnegie branch library in our rare book collection.  Springfield-Greene County Library Scrapbook. Compiled by Jack Wilson

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