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Mayor Alonzo Jones today dedicated the public library building at 511 Patton St. as the Ruby B. Archie Public Library. The naming of the building, he said, was a fitting tribute to Archie, who was an “exceptional leader, an exceptional educator and an exceptional mentor and friend to so many.”
The ceremony concluded with the unveiling of the new sign outside the Patton Street entrance to the library.
“There are so many reasons why Ruby B. Archie and this library belong together,” Jones said. “Ruby’s legacy is a bright guiding light for us all. That’s what the library provides. Through access to free resources and services, it enables not only lifelong learning, but creative thinking.”
Jones said Archie encouraged children and adults in lifelong learning as a beloved teacher for the Danville Public School system for 37 years, including as head of the English departments for both Langston High School and George Washington High School.
She was also a member of Danville City Council, serving from July 1, 1994, until her death on June 26, 2010. She is the only female to serve as mayor of Danville, a position she held from July 1, 1998, through June 30, 2000. She served as vice mayor from Sept. 1, 1996, through June 30, 1998.
In January, City Council voted, on the recommendation of the Alpha Phi Omega Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., to rename the library building as the “Ruby B. Archie Public Library.” Archie served the city of Danville and the Mid-Atlantic region as a member the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority for more than 50 years, including as the 16th Mid-Atlantic regional director. Part of this organization’s mission is to cultivate and encourage high scholastic standards.
Conchitte Williams, president of the Alpha Phi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., said Archie was a mentor to her.
“I would like to express how honored and excited we are for this historic event,” Williams said. As an educator and dynamic civic leader, Archie "made an investment in our community that we will forever be grateful for.”
“It is my hope with this historical marker that every child will be inspired and will discover how they too can become involved in community service, and they too can become amazing citizens in this city and anywhere in the world based on knowledge of the legacy of service by Ruby B. Archie.”
Carla Archie, a daughter of Cephus and Ruby Archie and a Superior Court judge for the 26th Judicial District of North Carolina, thanked all parties involved in the effort to rename the building in honor of her mother.
“As you know, my mother was an educator, a French teacher, an English teacher, a lover of literature, both the spoken and the written word. She was passionate about education, and reading in particular, as a means of opening the imagination of young people and developing a sense of the world outside of ourselves and our own experiences, and creating opportunities for advancement."
Judge Archie continued, saying, “She was also a woman of uncompromising standards. …. That is how my mother approached her life as an educator, a civic leader and a public servant. She did it not for reward or recognition but because that what was what she felt she was supposed to do.”
Danville Public Library Director Joseph Zappacosta said the renaming is a significant moment in the history of the library building, which he joked is known as the main library, the library on Patton Street and “the one that I believe is the hardest to let go, and that is the library next to Biscuitville.”
“The Danville Public Library is proud to honor the celebrated educator and city leader Ruby B. Archie, who had a long history of instilling a love of reading and writing as an English teacher in the city schools,” Zappacosta said. “Her values of education and civic responsibility make her a perfect choice for this distinction.”
The building has served as the public library for the community for more than 45 years. The building was first dedicated as a library in the early 1970s and underwent a major renovation in the 1990s.
The friendly library staff is available to give one-on-one assistance in the use of the library’s many resources, including access to free broadband internet. Library cards are free to anyone living within a 50-mile radius of the library. Borrowers have access to new bestsellers, movies, audiobooks and thousands of eBooks, and more.