By Bill Bailey
Calhoun County Library will celebrate 50 years at its current location with an open house on Monday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Librarian Amy Norman invites the public to stop by and enjoy some refreshments, read about the library’s history, and be entered to win a Kindle Fire 7.
Fifty years ago, a dream came true for readers, seekers of knowledge, and researchers of Cal-houn County when the new library opened in Grantsville.
The dream of a library in Calhoun County began in the 1930s as a project of Grantsville Woman’s Club, and consisted of 40 to 50 volumes shelved in the local Wiant & Barr store, and later moved to Jeffreys Hotel.
In 1945, the county court gave permission to the Woman’s Club to move the books and supplies to a room on the second floor of the courthouse.
Under control of the W.Va. Library Commis-sion, many more volumes were obtained until the one room library was so crowded, it was difficult to find material needed by readers, and there was no room for new books.
The already organized public library made Calhoun County eligible to participate in the Alpha Regional demonstration of public library service, which began in 1950.
This led to obtaining federal aid in building the new library on Mill St. with the Congressional passage of the Library Services Act of 1964, which provided federal funds for the building of new libraries.
The 63×90-foot site for the new library was purchased from Foster Poling for $5,000. The old storage buildings that had stood there for years were demolished.
One of the reasons the site was selected was location near the post office, and it had room for the bookmobile to park while it was being loaded.
Working on the project, along with the court-appointed library board, was a library advisory board headed by Peter J. Zannoni, president.
The advisory commit-tee prepared the many papers required for the application and secured financial backing with $17,500 in local funds.
Calhoun County Bank approved the loan, which was secured by interested citizens guaranteeing various portions of it.
Mrs. L.C. Hamilton was president of the library board, Jean Pitts was secretary, and Paul Gulley was treasurer.
Elizabeth Mollohan of Grantsville became librarian in 1953 and witnessed the tremendous growth in the library’s facilities.
The new library offered expanded services, includ-ing bookmobile service to all areas of Calhoun County, inter-library loans and data-phone service that sped materials to readers in record time.
Circulation figures for the six years preceding the new library averaged 15,873, which included circulation at the library proper, bookmobile circu-lation, and lending of books, records, magazines, newspapers, maps, and pamphlets.