By Sally Gracie
The Twisp branch of North Central Regional Library (NCLR) is the hub of the Methow Valley Community Center. As Twisp’s librarian, Terry Dixon has helped to make it so. Those of us who volunteer or substitute at the Twisp Library do so out of our strong belief in the importance of libraries, and our real affection for Terry.
Terry’s last day at the Twisp branch, Dec. 31, will be an all-day opportunity to stop by to thank Terry for her years of service. Before then, everyone will want to share their library memories in “Terry’s Book,” which will be at the young adult table in the library this week through New Year’s Eve.
Terry has connected patrons of the Twisp Library with books for more than 30 years. When Dolly Estes’s late husband, Clint, asked Dolly to “go up to the library and pick out some books” for him, Terry made sure to find something Clint would enjoy reading. Terry did the same for scores of others.
In the days of the card catalog, Terry mailed patron request cards to Wenatchee, and NCRL mailed the books to the post office. When Terry came into the post office during the years Dolly worked there, Terry remembers how Dolly would quickly gather all the mail order book pouches so Terry could hurry back to work at the library. Today the catalog is online and most book orders are delivered by van from Wenatchee a couple of times a week. Many patrons order books for themselves, though Terry seems happy to order for those who aren’t Internet savvy.
Terry has always been enthusiastic about encouraging children to love books. Especially since the Library Expansion Project created a workable space for Tuesday’s story times, children have delighted in Terry’s storytelling and crafts. Over the years Terry has inspired many volunteers to share their talents as storytellers, including Carolyn Bickford, Sandy Pease, Laura Tuner Hickey, Lois Caswell and Becky Curtis. New furnishings and lots of toys attract parents to the children’s nook all the days the library is open. Terry is as knowledgeable about the children’s collection as she is with all the books in the library.
When Pam Ager moved to the valley 23 years ago, Terry was one of the first people she met. Pam was looking for a book club, and Terry introduced her to Marge White, doyenne of the first valley book club. Pam became a member of the club. “Terry was a kind of social network. Like Facebook before the Internet,” Pam says. “She connected people with each other” when she knew they had interests in common. Pam’s connection to Terry and the library led her to work as Saturday librarian at Twisp and also as a substitute librarian.
Twisp Library was the first public place I visited when I moved to the valley in 1999. At the time the funny, kind of funky little library was in Room 2 (Room One was in Room 1). The librarian’s desk was to the right of the doorway. It generally had several people gathered around it to talk with Terry, who multitasked to fill out book requests, stamp due dates on books, and share family news. Every patron seemed to be Terry’s friend. I wanted to help her at the library. Eventually, we became friends.
Before I knew it, I was volunteering, straightening the children’s Easy books and the rest of the collection when I could. I worked with Terry and Ann Sanborn at the book sale on the lawn by the Senior Center. When Winthrop gave up its book sale, Twisp started to have two, which have developed into big events on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. And I’ve continued as a volunteer and as a member of Twisp Library Friends.
Words of praise from her patrons run to superlatives: “special,” “I’ve adored her,” “my favorite librarian — ever.” We’re going to miss her.