Karen Chambers, who gave her heart and soul to the town of Woodville and helped make its public library one of the best anywhere, died Sunday, Jan. 9. She was 75.
Chambers, a self-proclaimed country girl, was born and raised in Paint Rock Valley, at Trenton, never straying far from her roots.
She moved to Woodville in 1968, never leaving. In 1985, the town wanted a library. Later that year, Chambers came to help, working afternoons and Saturdays in a room at the Bob Jones Community Center.
She did that until 1991 before leaving to go to Huntsville to take care of her mother-in-law. In September 1993, Chambers came back as the library director, a position she would hold until retiring last September. By then, the town had a building for the library.
Alyssa Cosby was named the new library director after Chambers’ retirement. She said she could still remember walking through the library as a six year old as Chambers welcomed her with a smile.
“She told me all about the upcoming summer reading program,” said Cosby. “From that year onwards, I spent a lot my summers participating in the summer reading program, volunteering as I got older and coming back while I was in college to do my work there.”
Chambers took pride in the library’s preschool reading group. In the summers, 85-100 children would participate in the reading program.
“Karen loved her job,” said Scottsboro Public Library Director Laura Pitts. “She loved the library. She was epitome of someone who truly went to work each day to a place that was not simply a job but her life.”
In September, as she retired, Chambers said it was sad but time. Still, she made time for the library whenever possible, Cosby said.
“It is going to feel very odd never seeing her come in again to check out a book, but I am and will be forever thankful that I got to know her and this library so well because it has become such a big part of my life,” said Cosby. “She will always be remembered and forever missed.”
She married Larry Chambers when she was 19, married together for 43 years before Larry passed away on Sept. 6, 2008.
Chambers once said, after Larry passed away, the library saved her life. The couple had two children, Kimberly Hilliard and Lee Chambers, 14 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren.
Pitts said Chambers made the Woodville Public Library a special place, saying Chambers was director in a rural library where the odds of funding, support, staff and all of that are often times against the wind.
“In her time there she fought to make sure that books were purchased, the summer reading program was successful, and that the community had a place to go, if for nothing more, to get a cup of coffee and chat,” said Pitts. “Small libraries struggle for many reasons and no matter what struggles that came her way, she made sure the doors were open and the community was welcome.”
Pitts said she was fortunate to see Chambers in the past week before she passed away.
“I am forever changed by her friendship, I miss her dearly,” Pitts said.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, Jan. 13, at 2 p.m., at Scottsboro Funeral Home.