Interview With Callaway County Library District Board President Tonya Hays-Martin

Callaway County Library District Board President Tonya Hays-Martin

Each trustee serves on his or her own district board as well as on the regional library board, which is the governing body responsible for policy-making and fiscal oversight.

Fulton native Tonya Hays-Martin’s first “real” job was an assistant to the children’s librarian at the Callaway County Public Library. Later, while working for the state, she attended William Woods University, eventually graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

For the last 25 years, she’s worked in the mental health field, most recently as the librarian for staff and clients at Fulton State Hospital. She’s married to John and has two adult sons, Richard and Dylan.

Why do you think that libraries are important?
Public libraries offer essential services that improve and enrich people’s lives—and they’re a bargain! Libraries provide access to so many resources that the average person couldn’t afford on their own.

What made you apply to be on the library board?
I want to do everything I can to make sure that the citizens of Callaway County continue to enjoy excellent library services and programs. I am especially concerned with offering library services to underserved populations, like people with disabilities.

What is the role of the district board president as you see it?
The district board president should represent the public’s point of view and should also make the community aware of the library’s need for financial and moral support. I believe one of the most important roles of the district board president is to balance the needs of the individual districts with the needs of the system as a whole.

What are you most proud of regarding the district board?
I am proud of our district board for their diligence and fiscal responsibility. Because of their hard work, the Callaway County Public Library is a modern, well-planned facility that will be able to change and grow with our community.

What challenges does DBRL face in the coming year or years?
Like any other tax-supported entity, DBRL will face budget challenges in the coming years. Costs continue to rise and revenues don’t.

What makes Daniel Boone Regional Library special?
DBRL is special because it’s relevant. This is an organization that carefully gauges the needs and interests of the community members it serves and responds by creating programs and designing services to meet those needs.

Do you have a favorite memory about libraries from your youth?
I remember attending story time as a small child. It was always exciting to go to the library. I loved everything about it—the smells, the librarians and, of course, the books! I was absolutely thrilled when I became old enough to have my very own library card.

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