|By Bob Weaver|
This year marks the 38th for the Calhoun County Library, the result of the efforts of several community minded citizens who started to work on the project in 1961.
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.
An 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
The first formal public library was located in the courthouse in the 1950's, and had wide
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
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
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
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
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
Today, the library has tens of thousands of volumes, computer services, FAX services, daily
newspapers, research materials and dozens of special programs directed toward reading
and educational development.
"The library is here for the
community to use, young or old," says Grace Richards, president of the library board.
Tomorrow the library is seeking to pass a small operating levy that is needed to keep
the doors open.
For most taxpayers, the increase in taxes will be the cost of a loaf of bread
and a gallon of milk, each year.
"A library is a vital community service," said Richards. "We respectfully ask the taxpayers
for their support for this small levy."