By SHERRY DIGMON
For 30 years, Joyce Bolden was as much a part of the Atmore Public Library as the books on the shelves. Though she passed away in June 2019, her influence and contribution are still evident today.
To honor her memory, the library board and staff held a dedication Monday morning, February 10, to rename The Alabama Room.
The plaque above the door reads The Joyce B. Bolden Alabama Room, Dedicated to the Memory of Joyce Bolden, In Recognition of Commitment and Service to The Atmore Public Library, Director 1975 –2005.
Library director Hope Lassiter made the presentation. Her remarks follow.
Joyce Bolden became the director of Atmore Public Library in November 1975. During her 30-year leadership, she was instrumental in the following projects:
* 1977 – consolidated Cornelia Elmore Library with W.R. Holley Library in order to receive state aid from Alabama Public Library Service.
* 1983 – began a citywide newspaper drive to raise funds to benefit the library.
* 1984 – A 15,000 square foot library was built at 700 E. Church Street, bearing the name Atmore Public Library. Joyce contacted many officials and was instrumental in raising the 50 percent grant match.
* housed the Escambia County Cooperative Library System in the Atmore Public Library building.
* 1989 – formed a Friends of the Library organization to support the Atmore Public Library. Every year, this organization raises thousands of dollars to help promote programs for children and adults.
* 1989 – designed an Atmore Monopoly game that featured local businesses. Funds raised from this project purchased a local area network with circulation / cataloging software. She shared this idea with numerous libraries throughout the state of Alabama so they could profit from the project.
Visionary game changer. Tireless. Caring. Faith driven.
“These are words from her former coworkers and friends. How inspiring,” Hope said. “Joyce Bolden made sure the library had a solid foundation. She nurtured it, she encouraged it – to make sure we would still thrive even after she’s gone. That’s what good leaders do. That’s why we are here today, to dedicate the Joyce Bolden Alabama Room to her memory.”
Joyce’s husband, Ray, spoke on behalf of the family. When the library was in the old building, Joyce talked about how much more the library could offer, and she dreamed of a new building.
She got thousands of people involved and the new building became a reality.
If Joyce were here today, Ray said, “she would be very proud and very honored.”
Changing the name of the Alabama Room was by vote of the Library Board – Anthony Marshall, Ruby Nell White, Leigh Ann Rowland, Sydney McGhee, and Ginger Cochran.