HISTORY OF THE REIDSVILLE LIBRARY
The Reidsville Library was organized by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which appointed a committee to “create a library” at its meeting on October 29, 1909.
The committee consisted of Miss Mollie Fetzer and Ms. RT Burton, Will Williams, WB Wray, RG Gladstone, JE Amos, JB Pipkin, DR Allen, LTSmith, Dora Williamson Mills, SN White, JR Webster and PW Glidewell Sr.
Ms. Williams was chair of the committee with Miss Fetzer, second vice-chair; Mrs. Allen, first vice-president; Mrs. Glidewell, secretary-treasurer.
Reidsville’s first librarian was Mrs. Wray, who “had been the guiding spirit of the business”.
For a very short time, the library’s home was a dark, dingy room upstairs in the building once occupied by Link Brothers Pharmacy and Tesh until a fire destroyed it. The space was then secured in the former Ware and Somers building on Gilmer Street.
The determined ladies came before the Reidsville City Council and persuaded them to allocate $125 a year to the library. One bedroom was rented for $5 per month but, as the book collection grew, two bedrooms were rented for $10 per month.
“Any extra money was used to buy coal for the small grills used to heat the rooms in the winter,” the report said.
Books were donated or purchased with the money raised by the library committee projects.
In 1920 the library had to move and first went to a dark corner of the Rockingham Hotel. From there he moved upstairs to the Whitsett Building on Gilmer Street.
When plans for the Reidsville Municipal Building were drawn up in 1926, a location for the Library House was included. But, when that space became too small in 1953, the library moved again – this time to the ground floor of the old post office building, which had by then become the community center building where it now stands. the library.
Early librarians after Mrs. Ray included Mrs. Walker, Miss Emma McKinney and Mrs. Wrenn who was appointed librarian in 1928. Others who have served with and since Mrs. Wrenn include Mrs. Ed Harvey, Mrs. Glenn Wall, Mrs. Frank, Hall, Anne Edvalson, Ron McCabe, Jessica Travis and Ed Rorie.
Trish Gwyn succeeded Rorie as librarian in November 1982.
“For many generations, Mrs. Wrenn’s name will always be synonymous with the Reidsville Library. Although in 1951 she asked to be replaced as librarian, she continued to serve the citizens of Reidsville until her retirement in June 1969 after 41 years of dedication,” the report states.
A library board committee was appointed by the Reidsville City Council which allocated $5,000 per year to support the library. Part of the funds were returned to the city in the form of rent for the library premises. The Council continued to support the library until 1973, when the new Reidsville Library opened.
It was built at 204 W. Morehead Street, the site of the old post office building at the corner of Scales and Morehead streets. The city donated the land and contributed $35,000 toward construction costs.
The Reidsville Jaycees have adopted the solicitation of funds for the new library as their campaign. Jaycee President Curtis Dickens and General Chairperson Libby Dunaway led the effort to raise $144,868 to build the library. Federal and county funds were also added to the total.
When the building was completed, the library board was dissolved and the Friends of the Reidsville Library was organized. The city council also discontinued its appropriation for the library.
Those who played a significant role in later years in supporting and promoting the library were Mrs. William S. Hester, who served for 18 years on the county library board, Benton Pipkin, Mrs. HT Williams, Mary Montgomery King, Lawrence Watt, a county library trustee, JJ Gwyn, Mrs. Robert Vanstory, Mrs. WW Trigg Jr., also county library board member, Herman Wharton, Frank Hall, Richard Paschal, county library trustee , Mrs. William E. Davis II and Dr. Walter H. Moore, who also served on the county library board and was chairman of the board during the construction of the new library in Reidsville.
Today, the Reidsville Library is part of the Rockingham County Library System, including Eden, Madison-Mayodan, and Stoneville Libraries.