Lucy Lomax

Lucy LomaxLucibelle “Lucy” Lomax was born in Franklin, Texas on July 13, 1907. In 1926, she graduated from Baylor University with a bachelor’s degree in music. She was one of the university’s youngest graduates, completing her degree at only eighteen years old. Following graduation, she taught piano at Baylor. In 1929, Ms. Lomax was awarded a scholarship by the Institute of International Education in New York City to study piano at Toulouse University in France. After returning from France, she taught elementary school in College Station, Texas, in the 1930’s.

In 1941, Ms. Lomax completed a graduate degree in library science from Louisiana State University. She also held a second master’s degree from the University of Texas. She began her career in public libraries as branch supervisor and assistant bookmobile librarian at the Harris County Library, in Houston, Texas, from 1941 to 1945.

Ms. Lomax moved to Illinois in 1945, where she served as director of publicity and extension services, including adult education courses and Great Books discussion groups, at Lincoln Library in Springfield until 1952. At that time she joined the Missouri State Library staff as consultant and state director of their American Heritage book discussion program.

Lucy LomaxWhile working for the Missouri State Library, Ms. Lomax worked with citizen groups in Franklin, Gasconade and Warren counties to establish a demonstration of county-wide library service in 1957 and 1958. After the Franklin County Library district was created by voters on May 6, 1958, Ms. Lomax was hired as director by the newly-appointed Board of Trustees.

In April 1959 voters in Gasconade and Warren counties voted to create county library districts. On May 20, 1959 Scenic Regional Library was formed when the three county library districts contracted together. Ms. Lomax then became director of the regional system.

At that time, the system had branches in New Haven, Pacific, St. Clair, Union, Owensville, and Warrenton. Bookmobile service was provided to rural communities, as well as area schools. In 1972 the Hermann municipal library joined Scenic Regional Library.

During her tenure as director, Ms. Lomax introduced a wide range of library services to the community which were considered state-of-the art at the time, including the circulation of filmstrips, framed art reproductions, phonograph records, cassettes, slides, and magazines on microfilm. She also built an extensive reference collection for the library system.

Lucy LomaxMs. Lomax helped form the Library Services Center in February 1960 and was elected the organization’s first president. The organization allowed member-libraries to pool their book orders to obtain higher discounts from vendors. The Center also processed and cataloged the books, so that they were ready to circulate when the library received them. The cooperative was the second created in the state and included nine public and regional libraries.

In March 1961, Ms. Lomax, along with other librarians around the state, formed the Missouri Libraries Film Cooperative. The Film Cooperative became one of the largest in the United States and was used as a model by many other cooperatives.

When the Missouri State Library commissioned a landmark survey of library service in Missouri in 1962, Ms. Lomax served on the survey advisory committee.

Lucy LomaxMs. Lomax retired on January 1, 1975. During her sixteen years as director the library’s collection increased from 15,000 to 120,292 books and annual circulation rose from 142,566 to 355,257. She was recognized for her years of service by the Missouri House of Representatives, and the Missouri Library Association.

In 1975, Ms. Lomax compiled a history of Union for the city’s bicentennial. The booklet, History of Union 1827-1976, was completed by July 4, 1976.

Ms. Lomax received the Distinguished Service Award from the Union Chamber of Commerce in 1977 for her service to the community; she was the first woman to receive the honor. She was a member of the Missouri Library Association and served the organization in many capacities, including president of the Public Library Division. She was also a member of the Four Rivers Area League of Women Voters and the Franklin County Chapter of the American Association of University Women.

Ms. Lomax passed away on October 29, 1977, in Washington, Missouri. She was laid to rest with her family in Franklin Cemetery in Franklin, Robertson County, Texas.