Michael Garr has announced his retirement as the director of the Bandera County Public Library after three years in charge of the facility so he and his wife Rose can travel, visit the grandchildren and take on other activities that they have been putting off.
“We decided we needed to get busy doing some of the things we’ve had on our wish list,” said Garr, who became the library’s director in January 2017 after serving about nine months as the Bandera City Administrator and seven years as Bandera’s assistant librarian.
Health issues that his wife has experienced in recent years convinced them that “you’d better start to do what you want to do,” which in Mike Garr’s case means more volunteer work in the National Park Service, something he’s done periodically since he’s worked with the city.
“I’ll miss everybody,” he said. “I’ll just be an email away.”
Jan Grimes, the president of the library’s board of directors, said she and the board were “crushed” to hear about Garr’s retirement plans, which he first brought to her about two months ago.
“I hate that he’s moving on, but I’m excited for him at the same time,” the board president said.
Grimes said Garr was “highly goal oriented and customer service driven” and also is an avid reader who “loves the library.”
He worked well with other people, including the two other public libraries in the county, helped pull together a stellar staffand worked with other library interests to identify and secure grants that helped the library upgrade its building inside and out along with its lending inventory, Grimes added.
“We are so impressed with all the accomplishments he made,” she said.
Alison Harbour, director of the Medina Community Library, said she and other library interests also are sad to see Garr step down.
He shared a lot of expertise with her when she started as director in 2018 and “brought a lot of energy and vitality to the job,” said Harbour.
The Bandera board moved rapidly to hire a replacement for Garr, hiring a part-time library staff member that Garr brought to the library in January 2018, Mauri Fagan, Grimes said.
Fagan has a master’s degree in art history from the University of Houston and she and her husband moved to Bandera from Boston where she was a department coordinator at the Museum of Fine Arts.
Grimes said Fagan also is “very engaging” and has a strong customer service orientation. Fagan speaks Spanish which has helped the library reach out to Spanish-speaking patrons and has sought out and written grants that have improved the library.
“I expect we’ll continue going forward under her leadership,” said Grimes.
Fagan’s first day as director will be Monday, Jan. 6, or three days before Garr’s last day.
In the meantime, the library, located at 515 Main St. in Bandera, has scheduled a farewell celebration at the library for Garr and a welcome ceremony for Fagan on Wednesday, Jan. 8. It will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include cake, cookies and refreshments.
The public is welcome to attend.