Pat Scales leads the ribbon cutting for her special collection in Carmichael Library. Photo by Savannah Barton

Pat Scales was honored Thursday, Oct. 12, with the dedication and ribbon cutting of the Pat Scales Special Collection.

Scales is an alumna of the University of Montevallo, once known as Alabama College, class of 1966, and has dedicated her life to literature, particularly children and young adult literature.

Provost James McDonald listed Ms. Pat Scales’ accomplishments through her life, all of which are related to her love of a good book and her willingness to share the joys of reading with others.

McDonald also listed some of the books in the collection and gave their significance.

“Among other things, the Pat Scales Collection includes recordings, soon to be digitized, of major authors discussing their work with young readers and fielding their questions.” McDonald said.

Her love of reading and books encouraged her to pursue being a librarian and teaching others how to spread this love of books.

An advocate, Scales has dedicated her life to the pursuit of intellectual freedom by protesting the banning of books.

She has written books and newspaper columns dedicated to protecting banned books and sharing the love of reading with the younger generation.

Scales has also served on the award committees for Caldecott, Newbery, and Wilder.

“Pat has enjoyed an amazingly active life of the mind.” McDonald gushed.

In 2010, discussions began for building a special collections room inside of Carmichael.

Pat Scales gave her collection of children and young adult literature to the University of Montevallo, including stories which have won awards, such as the Caldecott, Newbery, and Wilder Awards.

She even donated items of historical value as a tie in with the books.

Others have donated their own books, time and money into the project, excited to see it move forward.

Library Director Charlotte Ford shared her enthusiasm as the ceremony came to a close.

“We now have a first class research collection for people who are interested in knowing more about children’s and young adult literature.” Library Director Ford spoke.

President John Stuart the Third gave thanks to everyone involved with building the special collections room. He expressed his gratitude and gave them recognition for a job well-done.

President Stuart went on to tell of his day with his grandson, how one of the stops they made was to the new Pat Scales Special Collections Room and how it sparked something for this 6-year-old.

“It was magical to see him really fall in love with some of the selections in Pat’s Collection.” Stuart spoke with a grin.

Scales then introduced her friend and colleague, Ellen H. Ruffin, the curator of the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi Libraries.

Ruffin expressed her excitement at being invited to the event. She talked about Scales and her work, even recited a sort of poem dedicated to Pat Scales and her character.

“Librarians who read that story were probably challenged in the same way I was.” Ruffin said about the time where Scales assisted a young boy in getting his new books by listening and understanding what it was he wanted.

The crowd enjoyed a few laugh and some jokes with Ruffin before the ceremony was turned over to Scales and her family.

Scales and her nieces and nephew, in spirit of the new collection, read a few passages from their favorite childhood stories.

“I have many favorite books from my childhood, but I’m going to mention one, instead of one from my childhood, one from my adolescence. It’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

And I can cite specific scenes from that book, and I remember some of the dialogue verbatim.” Scales spoke.

The event was brought to a close by Carey Heatherly, Carmichael’s own archivist. He gave his own thanks to those who worked on the Pat Scales Special Collections Room and to Pat Scales for her donations.

The ceremony officially ended once the ribbon was cut and the room was opened.

The new room has been a source of pride and excitement for UM and for Scales.

“It was great. Montevallo’s home.” Scales said with a grin.

The Pat Scales Special Collections Room will be used for students studying children’s literature and will hopefully promote more students and adults alike to study the stories their children read.