(08/13/2018)

The Calhoun County Library will celebrate 50 years at the current location and will have an open house Monday, Aug. 13th from 8-3.

"Stop by and enjoy some refreshments, read about our history and be entered to win a Kindle Fire 7," said librarian Amy Norman.

Librarian Norman says, “The free library services is one of the county's greatest assets."

A HISTORY OF CALHOUN LIBRARIES

By Bob Weaver

The small one-room schools had small libraries and the “new” Calhoun County High School records speak of a formal librarian as early as 1934.

Early library efforts include one started by Godfrey L. Cabot in 1901, who “generously donated one hundred dollars for the benefit of the town library on the condition that the town raise a like amount.”

A 1901 newspaper account said a literary club had already started a library in Grantsville, with $50 invested in books.

Another early effort to bring books to rural residents was the Alpha Regional Library bookmobile, which had scheduled stops at stores, post offices and schools in the county at Big Springs, Millstone, Arnoldsburg, Big Bend, Cabot Station, Mt. Zion, Orma and Minnora. The bookmobile project began in the early 1950's.

A formal public library was located in the courthouse in the 1950's, and had wide public appeal.

Chronicle editor Mary Ann Barrows took a picture in 1961 of a dilapidated building on Mill Street, which she said would be torn down and become the site of a “modern public library.”

It was the site of today's modern public library.

The site was purchased by the library board, Nelle Hamilton, president; Mrs. Jean Pitts, secretary; Paul Gully, treasurer, with other board members Nora Burns, Corel Poling and W. O. Umstead.

Actual construction started on the current library in 1967 with the official dedication in 1968. Local businesses and individuals raised money for the 20% match for 80% federal dollars.

Librarian Elizabeth Mollohan carried books from the top floor of the courthouse site to the new library.

Contributions totaled $8,400, including the first $500 from the Grantsville Senior Woman's Club, who operated the first public library. The total cost of the project was $95,000.

This was a time when numerous civic organizations and businesses still existed in the community, with some of the donors listed: Calhoun Home Demonstration Council, Rubber Fabricators, Consolidated Supply, Grantsville Civic Club, R. C. Fleming, Grantsville Navy Mother's Club, Al and Pansy Baker, Grantsville Lions Club, Alfred B. Fersco Company, Grantsville Junior Woman's Club, Calhoun Insurance Agency, Gladys Stump, Frank Lee, Delbert and Jean Sears, Sally Yeager, West Virginia Telephone Company, State Construction and the Calhoun Chronicle.

Upon opening, the new library revealed a collection of 11,830 volumes, with “more books on the way.”

In 1986 the effort to develop the second floor was made, a well utilized area that now includes West Virginia history in the Hamilton Room and Calhoun history in the Knotts Genealogy Room. The second floor includes two large meeting rooms with elevator access.

The Calhoun Public Library continues to make annual improvements, adding programs and services.


Hur Herald ®from Sunny Cal
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