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THE HISTORY OF MARION CO AR|
Marion County Library
By: Geneva Hurst
RESPECT THE COPYRIGHT: This book is still under copyright of the Marion County Historical Association and may not be used for any purpose other than your own personal research. It may not be reproduced nor placed on any web page nor used by anyone or any entity for any type of "for profit" endeveor.
"Libraries are a symbol of literacy. Libraries are storehouses of man's knowledge accumulated through the ages. One book in a library may inspire a genius and all libraries, whether large or small, are a source for individual knowledge - the one thing that never loses value to a person, and one valuable thing we have that can never be stolen." Copied
(Page 338) Marion County has had a county library since the late 1930's. The Works Progress Administration had maintained a small library collection in the Legion Hut in Yellville even before the county joined the North Arkansas Regional branch system in 1944. The collection of books and twenty-one library shelves were turned over to the county branch when Marion County became the fifth county to join the regional system.
In 1944 State Aid was given to support libraries in Arkansas; Federal Aid was given in 1957. The regional library housed the books in Harrison and brought new books every two weeks to the branch libraries. Two hundred fifty books were brought as the library's first allotment. At this time there was another branch library in Pyatt. Books were also taken to schools in the county.
A room to serve as a Library Room was set aside in the southeast corner of the first floor of the new county courthouse in Yellville in 1944. The library opened on Saturday, March 25, at 10 A.M. County Judge Earl Berry went to Harrison and brought the books allocated for the library and for the schools of Pyatt, Bruno, Flippin, and Yellville-Summit. 1 The books were installed in the Marion County Library by Mrs. Hazel Deal, regional librarian, assisted by Mrs. Ethel Phillips, county librarian. The first day, 105 books were taken out by the people from all parts of the county. The library was on trial for sixteen months. If it proved successful, it was to be continued permanently.
The county library was supported by the Quorum Court who provided money to be paid to the regional system. In 1948 the Quorum Court gave $1350 for the support of the library. In 1953 they gave $1740 and $500 for the county library for the librarian's salary, light bills, and other expenses of the library. The Quorum Court continued to support the county library and also made payments to the North Arkansas Regional Library until 1966 when the one-mill tax was levied to help support the regional system.
(Page 339 Top) In 1966, Marion County was threatened with the loss of its county library because it was the only county of the system which had not levied the one- mill tax and was one of the two counties in the state which was carried by the state library system though they did not have the required tax. The State Library required that each county levy a one-mill tax in order to receive state and federal funds. Marion County existed with appropriations of the Quorum Court.
In addition to the one-mill tax, the Quorum Court has continued to give the library additional appropriations for special needs of the library. From Federal Sharing Funds, the Court appropriated $6,223 for the purchase of a micro-film library which made it one of a very few in the state that was able to provide this service to the people of the county. It is especially helpful to the students in the area.
The County library's participation in the North Arkansas Regional Library program gives its readers access to thousands of regional books, the thousands owned by the Arkansas Library Commission, as well as books in University libraries.
County librarians through the years have been as follows: 1944, Ethel Phillips; then Mrs. M. D. Setzler; 1959, Mrs. Ethel Dwyer; and in 1976, Gail King.
The Marion County Library is governed by a library board composed of interested people selected from all parts of the county. The first board who governed in 1944 was composed of the following members: Mrs. Marian Burnes, Yellville; Mrs. Don Matthews, Yellville; John Q. Adams, Yellville; Guy Berry, Flippin; J. Frank Epley, Bruno; G. B. Keeter, Flippin. The board in 1976 is composed of the following: George Severson, Peel; Mrs. Maude Sims, Yellville; Dorothy Paden, Yellville; Janice Davis, Bruno; (Page 340 Top Photo: Marion County Library at Yellville) Doris Griffin, Bull Shoals; and Geneva Hurst, Flippin. Members of the board are appointed by the County Judge, and serve for a three year period. The County Judge is considered a member of the board and is encouraged to attend all meetings.
Early in 1967, the Marion County Library moved from its small room in the courthouse to a small building on Main Street in Yellville. The building, though small, held many more volumes with space for a long reading table in addition to the librarian's counter.
At a 1967 board meeting, the members discussed the possibility of a new library building which would be located in Yellville and would serve the entire county. This idea met with approval so the board made the decision to present the idea to the community at a public meeting. Several public meetings were held with interested citizens from all parts of the county. Much interest was generated so plans for raising money for the project were proposed. Architect's drawings were considered also. It was found that about $45,000 to $50,000 would be needed to cover the cost of building the new library. Forty per cent had to be raised locally in order to qualify for matching funds from the federal government. Chairmen were appointed from each section of the county to head the drive for library funds.
The proposed library building was to be located on five lots given to the library by the city of Yellville. The building itself was designed to have 3,200 square feet of floor space. Groundbreaking for the new building was held on February 2, 1968. Work began that same month.
Donors who contributed as much as $100 had their names inscribed on a bronze plaque and it was permanently displayed in the new library. A total of seventy-five names are on the plaque. The value of the lots which the Yellville City Council donated was also added to the county's share in order to obtain matching funds. Over 5,000 persons worked or contributed in some way to the drive for funds.
The building itself is built of concrete block with brick facing. The total cost of the building was $46,260. The federal share was $27,756; the county's share of the cost was $18,504.
The library is a vital part of the educational and cultural development of any area. The new library building invariably brought with it a new sense of community pride attributable to the broad general effort and backing which was a part of this great undertaking and an accomplishment of which all can be proud.
The Regional Library provided some aid to the schools in the county in the late 1950's and early 1960's. The Bookmobile selected small schools along its route and made regular stops. Teachers and students selected books for the school rooms. In 1965 schools of Arkansas received federal aid through Title II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, P. L. -89-10. Since that time the bill has been amended by P. L. 93-380. This federal aid has been a great boost for school libraries enabling them to provide a much greater service. All schools now have trained librarians, some with master's degrees. Bookmobile service to schools was discontinued, but students may still use it by visiting the bookmobile when it makes a regular stop.
Bookmobile And Its Services
(Page 341 Top) One of the first types of bookmobile service carried out in our county was in 1947 with a GMC panel-body truck. Acquired for use in circulating books, the library truck took 15,000 books per month to schools, branch libraries, and deposits. An auto accident caused extensive damage to the library's book truck and its contents in 1955. The library was without regular bookmobile service until 1956 when the library purchased another GMC suburban library truck.
Due to the Library Services Act, state and federal aid was acquired in 1957. Part of the aid came in the form of a Pioneer Gerstenslager bookmobile with 1,600 book capacity. Operational expenses for its use in the area were provided for a two year period also. Most of the bookmobile stops were established for adult service with schools being supplied by the method best suited to their needs. Revision is made each year in May so that the most children possible will be served at the community bookmobile stops when school is out for the summer.
One result of the purchase and establishment of the large new bookmobile was the disappearance of the book deposits and some of the lesser branch libraries. Another result was the checking out of quite a large number of books from this library on wheels. Shortly after the bookmobile began its real service, it set a record of 109 books checked out from the mobile unit by adults in one hour. In the first six months of the large bookmobile's service, 6,921 books were checked out to individuals all over the regional system.
Bookmobile service has changed quite a bit since the 1950's and even the 1960's. Now the rolling unit no longer stops at schools or branches but simply visits the small communities which are located out of the range of the central or branch libraries.
Most of the patrons visiting the bookmobile are adults, but many children come too, especially in the summer months. There are no limits and no fines for the bookmobile books. 2
1. Mountain Echo, March 29, 1944.
2. Connie L. Stanley, History and Background of the North Arkansas Regional Library System (a research paper) June, 1973, p. 25-55.
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Linda Haas Davenport