A little humor and years of experience has served Wilson Public Library Branch Manager Betty Manley well. She started with the Chickasaw Regional Library System in 1987.
Manley first became interested in library service after she started a library at her church while living in Florida.
“I learned the Dewey Decimal system from a retired teacher and I assisted her in processing books of all kinds. I wanted to learn as much as I could about libraries,” remembers Manley.
Moving around with her husband in the U.S. Air Force, Manley spent time in Alaska, Florida and Texas before returning to Oklahoma where she was raised.
Her library knowledge was essential when she was hired as the Wilson branch manager in 1988 after serving 9 months as a part-time branch substitute.
Manley recalled her first day as branch manager of the Wilson library.
“My initial thought was that I will treat each person who enters the library like a guest in my house and help them find whatever they need,” said Manley.
Because of her service, the community has continued to support the library in all aspects of programming and services, Manley said.
She has seen big changes in library services during the past 25 years.
“We checked out things manually when I first started running the library,” she said. “Today, computers have made such a big difference in serving people’s needs. Even copy machines are important to people by providing duplicate information when necessary.” Manley says she is proud that the library has so many ways to serve its people.
She can share humorous stories about her time spent at the Wilson library.
“I had a young boy about 11 or 12 who would come looking for books on snakes,” said Manley. “One day he wanted to look at a reference book on snakes and remarked that he knew his snake was not poisonous as he revealed the snake he was hiding.” Nothing seems to faze Manley and she values her job of helping those who come searching for information on various topics.
She enjoys many genres of books including humor, romance, fiction and nonfiction. She reads all of the Sequoyah Book Award novels so that she can recommend them to patrons.
“I loved to read as a child.We lived in the country and I often spent time alone so I would read all the time. My mother would also read to me. I inherited her hand me down books.” So what does the future hold for Manley?
“I intend to be a patron when I’m not running the library,” she said. “I love to read the funny parts of books and I have many to still read.”