When Lucile Nix was growing up in Commerce, there was no public library, true for most counties in Georgia in 1903.
When Nix returned from college and working in Tennessee and North Carolina’s libraries in 1945, only six libraries serving 14 counties and 41 additional public libraries existed in Georgia’s 159 counties.
When she retired and died 23 years later in 1968, there were 36 regional libraries serving 134 counties, and 25 other counties had their own services.
“This is an amazing statistic that shows just a small part of the changes she implemented in the state of Georgia during her time,” said Julie Wingate, president of the Northeast Georgia Historical and Genealogical Society.
The Northeast Georgia Historical and Genealogical Society, the Hall County Library System and the Georgia Library Association recently nominated Nix for the Georgia Women of Achievement Hall of Fame.
The 26th annual ceremony inducted Nix into the Hall of Fame on March 9 at Wesleyan College in Macon in celebration of Women’s History Month. The women inducted all share a few things in common, including their commitment to bettering their fields.
For Nix, love of books became a lifelong passion. The Gainesville branch of the Hall County Library System has dedicated its children’s section to her.
Though Nix never married or had children, she had 12 nieces and nephews and 39 great-nieces and nephews.
She also still has family in the area, and was the aunt of Gainesville businessman Abit Massey.
She also served as chief library consultant for the public libraries of Georgia, brought library services to rural areas and churches, hospitals and prisons, and strengthened regional library services.
“Through her work, the citizens of Georgia have improved access to information and educational resources,” said Cathy Jeffrey, 2016 president of the Georgia Library Association. “She was a pioneer in equalizing access ... and started us on the road to provide library services to all counties in the state.”
She also set an example that libraries are still following today.
“She remains an important role model in Georgia librarianship,” Jeffrey said.
When Nix died, Eleanor Ferguson, executive secretary of the Association of State Librarians released a statement that read: “No one who was privileged to know her will ever forget her gaiety and courage, and the warm and glowing brightness of her friendship. To her, responsibility was a challenge. She was never interested in an easy job, but in the difficult job that needed to be done.”