Rita Kay Driggers
As a Northside school librarian for 20 years, Rita Kay Driggers sparked a love of reading and a sense of adventure in hundreds of children. From the beginning, she defied the stereotype of a quiet librarian, and her libraries were hubs of activity, entertainment, and learning for her students.
One nominator wrote: "She makes sure that her library is an inviting place for all children. It is a magnet that pulls children into a place that is a home for joyful learners. Rita Kay Driggers is the happiest when the library is the busiest."
Driggers’ own adventure began soon after graduate school, when she moved to Puerto Rico to teach at a military school. From there, she went to the Toul-Rosieres Air Base Elementary School in France, where she met her husband, Milton, a U.S. Air Force pilot. Milton’s career continued to take them around the world as they raised their three children.
In 1980, the family settled in San Antonio, and Driggers was hired to be the librarian at Glenn Elementary School. She would go on to lead the libraries at Shenandoah (now Howsman), Cody, Elrod, and May Elementary School, which she opened in 1997.
A Rita Kay Driggers library was always warm, inviting, and stimulating. Her collection of puppets from around the world inspired students to learn about far-away places. Visits from authors made children clamor to read the books written by the person they had just met. But the best part of the library, students and colleagues agree, was Rita Kay Driggers herself.
Sometimes Driggers would dress up as a character from a book and visit classrooms to encourage students to go to the library. And she was always ready with a smile and the perfect book suggestion for her students, who loved to stop by the library and hear one of her famous tales.
She started after-school storytelling clubs, helped develop districtwide library curriculum guides and reading lists, and served on the Northside Education Improvement Council for four years. She also became one of the first NISD librarians to implement Accelerated Reader, a program that gets children excited about reading.
Because of her enthusiasm and her dedication to her students and work and her infectious love of life, Driggers was named Educator of the Year at three different schools.
Driggers retired from Northside in 2001 but continues to stay active as a mentor and volunteer for several community organizations, including the Northside School Museum Association.