FOLEY – From her start as a librarian being paid 50 cents an hour, Kathleen Parker served the Foley Public Library for more than 45 years.

The City Council recognized Parker for her decades of service with a proclamation commemorating her work for the library and citizens of Foley.

Parker served on the Foley LIbrary Advisory Board from 1971 until she stepped down in 2024. Mayor Ralph Hellmich said Parker helped the library grow from a small building at the corner of McKenzie Street and Laurel Avenue to the current two-story facility that is now in the process of being replaced by a new larger center.

“That’s an incredible time for serving on anything, but on a library board. You helped build the one that’s over there and then oversaw an expansion. Now, you’ve seen laying the groundwork for yet another vision being fulfilled,” Hellmich said. “I can’t tell you how much the council appreciates the service that you’ve given to Foley.”

Parker said she was honored to help serve patrons over the years.

“It’s been a joy and a privilege,” she said. “I have loved every minute of it, the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s been all that, but it’s been, overall, outstanding and wonderful. The library will continue to grow and expand and mean so much to this entire area, especially to our young people. So, thank you for the privilege of serving these many years.”

Parker was a member of the Foley Civic League when that organization donated $1,000 to benefit the library in 1958.

That donation helped renovate the library at its former location, expanding a building constructed in the 1920s. That building is now the Foley Welcome Center.

In 1978, she was appointed head of the “new special Building Committee,” which laid the groundwork for the construction of a new building at the library’s current location. The library was later expanded with the addition of a second floor.

Library supporters and city officials are now working on plans to build a new library and community center near the Foley Dog Park. Construction on that facility is scheduled to start later in 2024.