In the heart of Southlake, the local library stands as more than just a repository of books—it’s a vibrant community hub, a welcoming space where residents connect, engage in activities, and discover the finest in literature, movies, and digital resources. At the core of this dynamic space is Laura Byars, the library’s Technical Services Librarian, whose unwavering passion for books, learning, and service to others has become one of the secrets behind the library’s success.
With approximately 7,000 new items flowing into the library each year, Laura’s role is crucial. Her task is to meticulously organize and catalog each item, ensuring it finds its proper place in the library and can be easily located by patrons through the catalog. Coordinating with purchasing librarians, Laura makes countless decisions regarding collection placement, keywords, label consistency, and more, all aimed at enhancing the chances of each item fulfilling the demands of the community.
Laura’s deep knowledge and love for books extend beyond mere cataloging—she is a key selector for the general collection, contributing significantly to a remarkable 13% increase in the circulation of adult materials in 2023. Her keen insights into customer interests make her a driving force behind the library’s innovative approaches to presenting topics to the community.
However, Laura’s impact isn’t confined to the shelves. As a leader on the public service floor, she exhibits patience and empathy, addressing challenging situations and finding solutions that meet the needs of both staff and customers. Laura is also a primary trainer for reader’s advisory, developing custom training for staff on various literary genres and keeping them informed about the hottest new releases.
Cynthia Pfledderer, the library’s deputy director, remarks, “How lucky we are to have Laura on our team. She has such a heart for others and her gentle manner belies the strength and resiliency she brings to the library. She’s the kind of person you turn to when you are struggling, and you know you’ll be met with kindness. She exemplifies grace and a strong desire to be helpful as well as excellence in her role. I am so glad she calls the Southlake Library home.”
In every decision and interaction, Laura Byars exemplifies the spirit of service that makes the library an invaluable asset to the community. For all the reasons noted, we are highlighting Laura as one of Southlake’s important Unsung Heroes.