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Librarian’s superpower is helping others

Approximately six months after taking over as the director of the Cumberland County Library, Lisa Davis had to shut it down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She sent her staff home, but continued to work daily making plans for the future when the library would reopen. She also didn’t completely shut the doors to the library, helping customers fax paperwork or letting a few stir- crazy patrons browse the shelves for items to keep them occupied during the extended lockdown. She also answered the phone.

“You wouldn’t believe how simply answering the phone and fielding patrons’ questions made them feel less alone when they were stuck at home,” she said.

As a former teacher who began her career as a teacher in Cumberland County Schools in 1984, Davis also kept school children reading while they were out of school by sending free children’s books from the library home to school children when they picked up meals from the school.

It is clear that the 59-year-old Tennessee native loves her job.

“My favorite part of being director is hearing about children who are excited to show a teacher the books they got at the library,” she said. “I love seeing an adult smile that a book they wanted to read is now available. I love watching an adult learn how to use a computer or a program during a class we offer.”

After her youngest son Alex passed away in 2018, Davis and Alex’s father began a memorial fund that provides small annual scholarships to Cumberland County residents to help further their education as well as provide money for reading-related projects.

“We’ve been fortunate to find several ways to give books to children over the last couple years,” she said. “Our goal with the fund is to help someone attending a college, university or trade school purchase at least one book they need for a class or pay for a tank of gas if they commute as well as promote reading as a key to success in life.”

Davis said she does not consider herself a superhero.

“I’m just doing what I know I’ve been called to do – to help other people.”

To see the full A Salute to Community Heroes edition click here.