Unsung Heroes

Opening day at the library 1965. From left: Attorney Melvin Corley, Attorney Joe E. Briscoe (Library Board Chairman), High School Instructor Lucille Day, Librarian Margo Symington, Board Member Willie Mae Driscoll, Mayor Sid Malone, Library Assistant Nettie Petri, and Board Member Jack Tilley.

The struggle, cooperation and amazing volunteerism that brought the first public library to Devine

By Sherry Symington
March 23, 2001
“One small boy stood in the fireplace to look up the chimney, another peered under the desk. A little pixie of a girl popped in, her head swathed in black ruffled lace covering large rollers. Suddenly a baseball flew through the open door and several rows of books clattered to the floor.”
–Margo Symington, Librarian, May 27, 1965
The description above, written by the new librarian in her journal, was a typical evening in the first days of the Devine Public Library. Opened in a modest 1-room building next to the Little League field, Devine’s first library had more potential than polish in those early days. However, without the dedication of a handful of people to jump start the project, and the support and hard work of many of Devine’s citizens, this library may never have happened. Now, 36 years later, Devine boasts one of the largest, most modern, and most well stocked libraries for a town of its size.
Bookless in Devine
Before 1965, you couldn’t get books to read in Devine unless you bought a paperback at the grocery store or had access to the high school library. “This town needs a public library!” declared Ida Sample, English teacher at Devine Public High School. The year was 1955 and Attorney Joe E. Briscoe was listening. Together…

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The first Devine Public Library was housed in a 1-room former Boy Scout building next to the Little League field. The new sign on the building and freshly planted trees in 1965 hinted at the treasure of books inside.