After more than 15 years, LaFayette Pilot Public Library manager Betty Barrett is stepping away from one of the passions of her exceptional life. A retirement celebration was held for Barrett at the library on Friday, and dozens of patrons and family members came out to give their well wishes to a woman who has done so much to promote education, community and the growth of the library.
The reception followed Friday’s Lunch’n Learn program featuring the Whistle Stop Pickers. Library board of trustees members Mac Bryant made a brief presentation in honor of Barrett. “She’s a woman of many talents,” Bryant said about Barrett. “She’s a mother of three and grandmother of seven; she has taught students from kindergarten to college sophomores and is a published author.”
On behalf of the board and library coworkers, Bryant presented Barrett with a book on Alabama architecture. Barrett, who loves to travel, was also presented a check to help with her traveling expenses.
“During her many years of service, Betty has been an important part of our library family,” Chambers County Library Director Mary Hamilton said. “She dedicated herself to making the LaFayette Pilot Public Library a great community resource. We are sad to see her go, but happy to know that she will be free to enjoy this new chapter in her life.”
“Home, church and the library has been my world for many years,” Barrett remarked. “It’s been a joy and a privilege for me to be a part of this place. I’ve gotten so much joy from being here and seeing all our patrons grow up. I’m going to miss you all so much, but I think it’s time. I love you all and thank you all so much.”
Barrett started as a volunteer at the library after her career in education ended. She was later named manager. She said that she’s seen a great deal of change in her time but none more significant than when citizens approved a tax to help fund the library. Barrett estimated that the library’s collection has more than tripled since that time.
As for what she will miss the most, Barrett says it will be watching the children grow up.
Her plans now are to travel, particularly to California, Texas and South Dakota to visit her children. She also said she is looking forward to organizing her house and spending time with her husband Rev. Wayne Barrett.
After the presentation, patrons and coworkers stayed to give their well wishes to Barrett and enjoyed cake and punch. Barrett also introduced her successor, Rachel Johnson, who assumes the role as library manager.