Lydia Malcolm served Henderson as a librarian and volunteer before the town was named Henderson. Now her name lives on through the Lydia Malcolm Library, 2960 Sunridge Heights Parkway.
Malcolm was born Lydia Smith on Aug. 22, 1908, in Stratford, N.Y.
Even though she attended Albany Business College and worked as an accountant, she loved books and reading.
Three years after she moved to the Basic townsite in 1946, she decided to take her passion for books and become a librarian. She was the town's second librarian and served about two decades.
Malcolm spent much of her time helping interested readers at the former library on Water Street, which was later named Gibson Library.
In 1954, a year after the townsite was incorporated as Henderson, she became active with the Nevada Library Association and served as president.
Malcolm attended UNLV part time from 1955 to 1965, and she eventually earned degrees in English and library science.
During her life, Malcolm earned various awards, including Nevada Librarian of the Year in 1963, Mother of the Year in 1956 from the Pittman Women's Club and Woman of the Year in 1957 from Beta Sigma Phi.
Her hard work even earned her library the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award from the Book-of-the-Month Club .
Malcolm also served on the PTA and volunteered for the Salvation Army .
Malcolm retired in 1969 but kept active in the community by volunteering for Henderson Libraries.
"She just loved being out in the community," said Gayle Hornaday, assistant director of Henderson Libraries. "She just really loved people."
Hornaday, who met Malcolm when she started with Henderson Libraries in 1994, vividly remembers that Malcolm would always come in immaculately dressed.
Aside from volunteering, Malcolm loved to travel.
"She traveled a lot," Hornaday said. "She would tell us about going to Germany or Egypt."
Henderson Libraries received a donation in 1994 to build what would become the Paseo Verde Library, 280 S. Green Valley Parkway.
"We weren't quite ready to build," Hornaday said. "But we still wanted to establish a presence in the community."
The organization decided to open a smaller storefront library, at which Malcolm volunteered.
In 1995, at the official grand opening of the library, there was a presentation honoring Malcolm for her years of service.
"There was a slide show with photos of all the things she had been a part of," Hornaday said.
To Malcolm's astonishment, she learned at the end of the presentation that the library would be named for her.
"She was very tearful," Hornaday said, "b ut of course very grateful and honored."
For the last four years of her life, Malcolm lived in a residential care facility. She died on July 10, 2002, at 93.
A memorial was held at Palm Mortuary, 800 S. Boulder Highway, where her ashes were interred next to her husband, David, who died in 1985.
The library relocated to its current location in 2005, keeping her name.
In the back study room of the library, there is a case full of items honoring Malcolm. The items range from photos and awards to stuffed animals that she crafted in her spare time .
Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 387-5201.