Library Celebrates 15 Years of Service

The Anson Public Library has seen many changes since its beginning in 1904. Anson was a rising community in 1904. Organizations were present and they wanted to address the needs of citizens of the community. The Women’s Club felt it was important to have a place to share books so they set up a make shift library in the back up a drugstore. Though the “library” was a small one, it met a need for the community. Their efforts would show through many years to come despite times when the library went without use. Through the years of the Great Depression, the Tuesday Study Club felt the importance of reviving the library. They took a room in the Ferrel House, which was located east of our present post office and collected books to be placed there. The Ferrel House was also called the House of Seven Gables due to its unique architecture. Very few books were in the room but Miss Johnnie Colbert, a former school teacher shared many hours of storytelling.

The community lost interest in maintaining the library and without the support of the community, it closed down. As years passed there were many who took interest in reopening the library. In 1961 with the Bicentennial at hand a group of 30 citizens met at what once was the Sirloin Café to discuss Anson’s need for a library. Officers were elected to form a board to get the project underway. Earl McCaleb was President, Mrs. Bland Harper-Vice President, Mrs. E.M. Pittman-Secretary, Miss Arrie Barrett-Treasurer, and Miss Hybernia Grace-Librarian with Directors Bill Lepard, Otto Sosebee, and Mrs. A.J. Smith. Now Anson Public Library would soon become a reality. The library would share their location with the Anson Chamber of Commerce at 1121 12th Street. Anson Chamber of Commerce moved to another location, and the library remained in the first floor of the building until moving to its current location. The library had always been maintained through donations and contributions.

As it grew, it suffered due to lack of funds, so in 1973 the city began lending a hand. Growth of the library was steady. In August of 1962 the library had 197 books and its circulation for a four month period was 1,564. In a year’s time the number of books rose to 1,625. With the hard work and dedication of its librarians Miss Grace and Miss Barnett, the library flourished with shelves filled with 8,300 books.

With all growth, costs rise also in 1984 the library incorporated. It was still struggling, the need for the public’s help was imperative. Once again the community rallied behind the library. To help with funding for new services, supplies, books, insurance and a paid librarian, the library sought a tax free entity status. This enabled them to accept real donations and gave them the ability to apply for grants. Meeting the needs of the community with its services was a goal of the library, so in the 1990’s with the needs of the community changing, the directors decided it was time to make upgrades. Offering internet services, more books and a room for meetings would be vital to serving the public as it should.

The directors implemented a fundraising campaign to help raise money for a new facility that would accommodate room for growth. Donation was made of a 6,600 square foot building across the alley from 1121 12th Steet by Durell Wilson and her son and daughter-in-law Matt and Carol Wilson. What was now a vacant building was at one time a meat processing plant that Mrs. Wilson’s parents had owned. The board for the library bought the east side of the building and began collecting funds to update it. The east side of the building had once been home to a café, a print shop, an auto supply store, a woodworking shop and also a youth center. With one wall separating the two buildings, the new library would have around 6,600 square feet. Citizens of Anson were excited about renovating the building to house the library. Everyone was happy to take part in any activity that would bring funds for the project.

Though there were many who made large contributions to the effort, Mr. and Mrs. Furr gave a substantial donation that pushed the endeavor into existence. By showing their generosity, other organizations followed suit and the new library came to be. The help of the community was overwhelming. Events such as Jump For Books, bake sales, garage sales, dinner theaters, calendar sales, a pumpkin roll bake off and cookbook sales added to the amount of money needed for the library. The library also sold memorial bricks and plaques that are now displayed in the conference room area.

Anson Public Library held open house for their new library on September 29 and 30, 2000. The new library would house over 13,000 books, computers for internet access, offer videoconferencing capability and was fully automated. The project was a successful one made possible by grants and contributions. This being said, the library still remains available to the public through the help of contributions. Without the generosity of its patrons and those seeing the value of the services it provides for the community, the library might not remain. The spirit of dedication in the citizens of Anson and the area is a true testament that anything can be achieved if a community comes together to make it happen. What looks impossible can be possible if one has determination. 

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