Library director Julia Embree “shelves” some new fiction arrivals at the Nora Sparks Warren Memorial Library in Pauls Valley. Embree was recently honored for 25 years of service. (PVDD photo by Jim Richardson)

The Nora Sparks Warren Memorial Library in Pauls Valley has been open to the public for the last 24 years and director Julia Embree has been working there since day one.

But as Embree explained it, her tenure as a local librarian extends even farther back in the city’s history.

“In the summer of 1981 I started working as part-time in the old Pauls Valley Library that was located at 215 North Walnut — where the police station is now,” Embree recalled.

“Then Mr. O.F. ‘Bill’ Warren built us the new Nora Sparks Warren Memorial Library in honor of his wife and we moved into it in May of 1983.

“Adrienne Grimmett retired in 1992 as library director and at that time I assumed her position and responsibilities. I have completed the Oklahoma Certification for Public Librarians and am currently certified as a Level III Administrator.”

In recognition of her many years of service to the Pauls Valley community, Embree was recently honored with a very special award which was presented by both the state and the city.

“Earlier this month I was awarded an ‘Honor Roll of Service’ certificate and matching lapel pin from the Oklahoma Municipal League, ‘in recognition of a quarter century of service’ to the city of Pauls Valley,” Embree said.

“I couldn’t be there for the ceremony so I was presented the certificate and pin here by local officials during a Pauls Valley City Council meeting held a few days ago.”

While some things have remained relatively the same over the last two-plus decades — people still come to check out books, look up information and browse through various newspapers — Embree said she has seen one major change in the library system that has effected the role of librarians across the country.

“Something that has changed tremendously over the last 25 years has been all the added technology. People used to call, write or come by when they needed information on different subjects. Now many of them just e-mail me,” Embree noted.

“And more research is done now on computers than out of books. Students are using computers now more than volumes to do their homework and special school projects.

“And people come in to use the computers now when they are doing various kinds of research like genealogy.”

Despite the drastic increase in the use of modern technology, Embree said she believes some things will never change and books will always prove to be a primary source of information and entertainment in libraries everywhere.

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