Familar earns statewide award

Published 4:17 pm Friday, November 10, 2023

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WINSTON SALEM – Pat Familar, Branch Manager of Gates County Public Library, was recently honored here by the North Carolina Library Association.

On October 19, at its biennial meeting in Winston Salem, Familar received the William Roberts Award for Distinguished Library Service. The purpose of this award is to recognize service excellence in public libraries in North Carolina. The recipient of this award may be a library leader or an unsung hero/heroine in public libraries.

Familiar has served as Branch Manager at the Gates County Library since 1983, marking 40 years service there. On Sept. 1 (the anniversary of her hiring), Familar was visited by Albemarle Regional Library (ARL) Director Hugh Davis, ARL Board of Trustees Chair Helen Eure, past and present colleagues in the ARL system, and friends.

On Sept. 19, the Gates County Commissioners honored Familar at its regular monthly meeting, citing her contributions to the quality of life for multiple generations of library patrons, noting that she has provided 40 Summer Reading Programs, thousands of storytimes, and tens of thousands of reading suggestions and recommendations.   In countless ways she has helped to improve the educational opportunities for the citizens of Gates County and the surrounding area.

During her 40 years, Familar has served in three different buildings, overseeing the transition and evolution of library services from a physical card catalog to a cloud-based, web-hosted system. Both the Gates County Library and the entire Albemarle Regional System have grown and expanded, offering different types of titles and texts to reflect ever-changing times but always seeking to meet patrons’ needs. Throughout the changes, what has not changed is Familar’s personal and effective touch.

Davis said he first met Familar when she was helping conduct library sponsored Quiz Bowl competitions during his days as a high school student and competitor.

“She is the face of the library, one who greets patrons of all ages, calls them to recommend titles, reminds them about programs and services when she sees them at the grocery or post office, and greets them when they come into the branch with a smile and support,” Davis said. “She is also a fantastic professional who handles all operations behind the scenes. She knows her library and her patrons, and she takes care of it and them with her fabulous management of the branch.”

The embodiment of the Gates County Public Library, Familar was recognized a few years ago in a local magazine as a “hero” of Gates County. Giving her all to the people for 40 years, she is a hero, a fabulous public servant. She truly has rendered Distinguished Library Service.