2017 Inductee, Georgia Women of Achievement
March 4, 1903
December 1, 1968
City, Town, Region
Lucile Nix was born on March 4, 1903, in Commerce, Georgia, the youngest daughter born to John Morgan and Ella Loudora Bennett Nix. Her father was a dry grocer and her mother a self-educated woman with a passion for reading. Like most Georgia rural communities in the early 1900s, Commerce did not have access to a public library.
Nix attended high school in Commerce, and received her A.B. degree from Greenville Women’s College, now Furman University. She did summer work at the New York Public Library in 1926and was later persuaded to pursue a library degree.In 1930 she earned her B.S.L.S. from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation fromEmory University, she taught English at the R. J Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where she also served as library assistant.
Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where she also served as library assistant. In Georgia under the mentoring ofTommie Dara Barker, the Emory Library School’s dean, Nix was convinced of the idea that greater economics could be realized in rural areas by providing larger units of library service. An example would be using county libraries as opposed to town libraries. In 1930 she was appointed librarian in the Winston-Salem Schools in North Carolina.
With the uncertainty of employment during the Depression,MissNix was fortunate to teach during the summers, first at Florida State College for Women and later at the University of NorthCarolina.Looking to improve her standing, she accepted a joint appointment at Emory University in 1934–1935 as assistant reference librarian and instructor in high school library administration in the library school. Nix later became head of Knoxville,Tennessee’s twelve school libraries. She eventually advanced to head of the Adult Education and Circulation Department in 1936. Within a few years she became regional librarian for the Tennessee Valley Authority. Nix was instrumental in gaining the first state aid bill for libraries in Tennessee in 1945.
Later in 1945, Nix moved back to her home state of Georgia to accept the newly funded position of Chief Library Consultant to improve public library services ,a position she held until her retirement in 1968.Under the leadership of Nix and Chairman Barker of the State AidCommittee of the Georgia Library Association, lobbying campaigns were organized in the Georgia legislature in the late 1940s. These campaigns increased the amount of state aid to rural libraries in small doses.
Nix not only pioneered the development of rural and regional libraries, but she was also involved in establishing high standards of library service and creating adult education programs through libraries. She served for many years on the Board of Managers of the Georgia Congress ofParents and Teachers; helped to organize the Georgia Adult Education Council and served as its president (1947-49). She participated in the activities of the Georgia Public Health Association, the Georgia Committee on Children and Youth, the Georgia Committee on the Aging, the Farm Bureau, and the home demonstration agents’ organization. In 1963 she was selected as Georgia Woman of the Year by theProgressive Farmer magazine. She was a member of the Georgia Education Association and Delta Kappa Gamma.
Nationally and regionally, Miss Nix used her rare talent of involving numerous people and organizations in the planning and carrying out the improvements in library services. In 1960 she was a representative to the White House Conference on Children and Youth. In 1944-45she was president of the Tennessee Library Association. She was president of the Southeastern Library Association from 1958–60, and worked extensively with the state and national Congress ofParents and Teachers.
Nix was among the first southern librarians to achieve prominence on the national level by holding many positions including vice president of the American Library Association, a member of the council of the Adult Education Board, and president of Library Extension Division of the American Library Association. She was selected by the American Library Association’s award committee in 1968 to receive the coveted Joseph W. Lippincott Award, presented each year to a librarian for distinguished service to the profession of librarianship. She received the Distinguished Service Award from the Georgia College at Milledgeville in 1968 in recognition of her contribution to literary development, and the Sullivan Award from Furman University. On her retirement in 1968 the Georgia Library Association established the Nix-Jones Award to be given every two years to a Georgia librarian who had made an outstanding contribution to library development in Georgia.
Eleanor Ferguson, executive secretary of the Association of State Librarians, wrote: “She was never interested in an easy job, but in the difficult job that needed to be done. She brought wit, humor, and real love of people with her wherever she went. She took defeat in her stride and moved on to greater victories. She lived her life with gaiety and charm and leaves behind her a host of warm friends and a professional career that is an inspiration to us all.” During Lucile Nix’s time as Chief Library Consultant for the Public Libraries of Georgia, the public libraries were completely reorganized and strengthened. When Miss Nix started her job as Chief Library Consultant, there were 6 regional libraries serving 14 counties and 41 additional counties giving county-wide service. When she retired in 1968, there were 36 regional libraries serving 134 counties, and the remaining 25 counties provided countywide library service. Sarah L. Jones, of the Dictionary of Georgia Biography, describes Nix as: “...truly an ambassador of goodwill for the state of Georgia. For her many friends and co-workers nationwide, she was Georgia.” Nix died December 1, 1968 in Decatur, Georgia.