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From the desk of Alison Gibson, Director
It is with sadness that we acknowledge the passing of one of our own. Patty Fithen passed away last week, and we are all pretty stunned. Patty had worked at the library starting in the 1980s and retired at the end of 2017 to concentrate on family and fun. Going from library aide to children’s librarian, she helped, guided, cajoled kids into reading, as well as having them look forward every week to ‘Miss Patty’s’ story times. Working as long as she did, there were generations of kids that had a great deal of fun and learning. We still have adults that stop in and fondly remember Miss Patty and the time spent in the children’s department in Ripley. She planned the Summer Reading programs, laughed at the corny Magic Santa jokes, processed thousands of books and worried about keeping all of ‘our’ kids interested in the library and reading. Recently, we enjoyed reminiscing about the early days when there was only one library and it hadn’t even been expanded yet. Patty helped with the branches as well, especially the Russellville location, welcoming the kids from the Russellville Elementary school walking over to select books. Happy chaos. We know she enjoyed gardening, collecting pottery, reading, loved her family (including the dogs) and was always willing to stop and talk about Ripley. We will miss her, and wish the family well as they maneuver through this difficult time.
We were going through pictures of story time and kid’s programs, but we suspect Patty was behind the camera most of the time as we can’t find very many. This picture was taken in 1991, the first year she was the children’s librarian. The addition wasn’t finished, so the desk is in the old part, and you can see the card catalog and VHS cases! Her smile when interacting with the kids was infectious, and we will fondly remember her for all of her time here at the library.