Georgia Public Library Service is pleased to award a lifetime achievement honor to Thomas M. Jones, retired director and jack-of-all-trades for Middle Georgia Regional Library System. He also served on the PINES (Public Information Network for Electronic Services) executive committee from 2008-2011. Throughout his career he was an advocate for library users and supporter of his fellow library staff members and colleagues.
“Thomas Jones was an innovative leader who impacted library services in the entire state of Georgia,” said Janice Habersham, trustee at the Middle Georgia Regional Library System.
Jones started as a library page with Middle Georgia Regional Libraries in 1972. Over the next 42 years, he served in many different roles. After earning his library degree in 1980, he began his professional librarian journey as a reference librarian. In 1986, he transitioned to leading the technical services department until 1994, when he became the head of information and technology services and remained there until 2007.
While he later served as the deputy director and then director of libraries for Middle Georgia Regional Libraries, his time as head of information and technology services provided a foundation for his most significant contributions to the library system and state efforts.
It was during that time that he served as project manager for the pilot project for Georgia Library Information Network. This project introduced the processing of Inter-Library Loans, representing the first time that libraries across Georgia used computers to work collaboratively, using dial-up internet. When the statewide library card and interlibrary loan system, PINES, launched, Jones was involved in early implementation and catalog integrity.
“He was always a voice of reason, someone who understood the big statewide picture and good at translating local data into formats that would work for all of PINES,” said David Singleton, director of Live Oaks Public Libraries.
Until his retirement in 2014, Thomas continued to serve on various statewide committees and was a longtime member of the Georgia Library Association. He also successfully obtained local and national technology grants to improve Internet service in the Middle Georgia Regional Library branches and to update the library’s genealogy collection, which has become the gold standard for genealogy rooms in Georgia public libraries.
“Jones’ many small steps over his 42-year career has earned him the recognition of an early technology adopter and significant contributor to Georgia public library patrons and staff,” said Jennifer Lautzenheiser, director of Middle Georgia Regional Library System.