Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, Harriet Bard came to Indiana in the early 1930s. She became librarian of the Hagerstown Library in 1937 and later attended University of Michigan where she earned a Master’s Degree in Library Science in 1941. In 1945 she was named Head Librarian of Morrisson-Reeves Library and served in that position for the next forty years.
Mrs. Bard instituted numerous programs designed to distribute books to people outside the actual library. Early in her tenure, she personally took books to the Smith-Esteb Tuberculosis Hospital, and later programs provided books to home-bound patrons and Wayne County Jail inmates. She established branch libraries in the local Boys’ Club and in the Townsend Center, and began bookmobile service to local parks, playgrounds, retirement homes and rural towns.
One of Mrs. Bard’s most lasting contributions is the building that currently houses Morrisson-Reeves which was built in 1975. Mrs. Bard worked tirelessly with architects to fashion the best possible library configuration, even spending a summer taking classes on library buildings. The result of her effort is the present building that is modern enough to accommodate all of the changes that have taken place since 1975, and yet retains a feel for the past. Even though the old building was demolished, many architectural and furnishing pieces were salvaged and incorporated into the new one.
She was named the Indiana Librarian of the Year in 1966, and in 1979 was the first recipient of the Allie Beth Martin Award for distinguished librarianship given by the Public Library Association. Locally, she received the Kiwanis Distinguished Service Award in 1976 and the Boys Club Woman of the Year in 1979, and in 1985 she was named a Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest honor an Indiana governor can bestow.