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Customer on Center Stage: Pat Vaughn

When she moved to Osceola, AR in 1974, Mrs. Pat Vaughn knew she needed to visit the library. An avid reader for most of her life, Mrs. Vaughn made sure that the library was one of her first stops when she began to tour the County that would become her home for the next five decades. “All the librarians over the years have been so good to me,” Mrs. Vaughn recalls. “I’ve known them all over the years. When we used to have to pay overdue fines, Elizabeth Rhodes would always keep track. She’d call me when I had a book that was about to be overdue, just so I could run it back in before I got a fine. She was always so good about looking out for people that way.” The library has become a sort of second home for Mrs. Vaughn, who frequently makes trips to the Osceola branch to pick up a new book: she sometimes reads three or four books a week!

Now that she can keep books out a bit longer, Mrs. Vaughn likes to share her copies with a neighbor, Ms. Marilyn, who can’t get out to the library as frequently as she once did. “I’ll often just call up to the library and tell Denise [Hester] that I’m taking this book or that over to Marilyn. She’ll check them back in and then out again for me, so that I don’t have to drive up there. That way, if there’s a book I know Marilyn will like, I can just walk it over to her.” Mrs. Vaughn has also been known to come borrow books specifically for others in her community; she laughs as she recalls her neighbor’s refrain, “Pat critiques my books!”

Now widowed after a happy marriage of 51 years, Pat Vaughn leads an active life in her community. She raises beautiful flowers in an extensive yard, is a dedicated member of First United Methodist Church of Osceola, and travels to Jonesboro, Memphis, and all over Tennessee to attend professional concerts and plays, as well her favorites: performances by her grandchildren. Even with all her activities, Mrs. Vaughn carves out plenty of time to read. She prefers a real book, one she can curl up with and dive into, rather than an electronic book that can tire the eyes. Her favorite time to read is the late afternoon and early evening: the time that used to be filled with energy as husband and children returned home now feels empty without the retreat of a good book. “I love a great story, or a series, where I can follow the characters from one book to the next,” Mrs. Vaughn explains, as she thinks about some of her favorites, “when everything around me is quiet, I can open a book, and transfer myself into the happenings. In the afternoons, a book is my friend.”

Pat Vaughn has an eclectic taste in books. Some of her favorite authors include Karen Kingsbury, Danielle Steele, and Sherryl Woods. She loves to read great works of historical fiction, especially novels that cover the pre-Civil War Era or tales of Amish life, such as those written by Beverly Lewis. Mrs. Vaughn often peruses the Bestseller and New Release sections at the library; if a book is going to be made into a film or tells a true-life tale, she’s the first to snatch it off the shelf. “When I see there’s a movie based on a book, I run to the library and try to read it before the movie comes out,” Mrs. Vaughn explains. “When you’ve read the book, you’re always disappointed in the film! Once you’ve seen something, it’s harder to read it. But when you read the story first, you get to visualize everything on your own: the scene in my head is so much better!”

Mrs. Vaughn values the personal connections that community brings, and is glad to find “a real community, and help from the librarians here. They make this library a personal place, where there’s a relationship; it’s not all business, like so many places now.” She stresses that the library is a place of connection, where librarians who know her personally are glad to reserve a book they know she’ll love, and call to tell her the title she’s been hoping for has arrived. The Mississippi County Library System loves Mrs. Vaughn, too, and looks forward to many more years of finding her great books to read!

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