A Library Bond that Carries On

How one special staff member's passion inspired a career path

Story sized.pngApril Wallace lives in Alabama, but recently a flood of memories brought her back to her time spent in Virginia Beach. While looking through her bookshelf, she came across the book "Number the Stars" and found "Gift of The Friends of the Virginia Beach Public Library, Summer Reading Club" stamped on the inside cover.

"I must have gotten this in 1991 or 1992," April says. "My mom, me, and my 2 siblings went to the Bayside branch weekly; we all had our own cards — the limit at the time was 15 items and I always got the max!" April specifically remembers one Virginia Beach Public Library (VBPL) staff worker that was always there to help. "She was the kindest, most patient lady and I have never forgotten her!"
Story sized 2.pngAmy B., a library assistant supervisor at Bayside & Special Services Library, immediately thought of Nellie Pafford. "Customers still mention her to this day. She was so helpful and was always dressed to the nines. She never did retire; Nellie passed away in 2004 while still working for the Library."

To confirm Amy's thoughts, VBPL staff Carmen H. and Lori S. searched through the library's archives and discovered several photos and stories of Nellie and shared them with April.  

"Oh, my goodness, these photos! The one with her in the gray blouse is exactly how I remember her," April says. "When I was in 6th grade, I had a monthly trivia/research assignment from my social studies teacher, Mr. McKenna. It was due the last day of the month, but for each day it was turned in early, you earned a bonus point. So, we would camp out at the library to try and answer all the questions in one evening, so I could turn it in the next day and potentially get a grade of 129. Yes, I was a nerd. We always got stuck on a few questions and Nellie would help us search for the answer. True reference work in the pre-Google days!" Story sized 3.png

April's family moved to Alabama in 1996 when her father retired from the Navy. She has been a librarian for 13 years — first in public libraries and now as a middle school librarian. "Nellie still pops in my heard often; I sure wish I could tell her I've become a librarian too."

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