Courtland library marks 50th anniversary

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 14, 2008

COURTLAND—The Walter Cecil Rawls Branch of the Blackwater Regional Library hosted a dual celebration on Thursday night, that of its 50th anniversary and its recent renovations.

The library has been open since June 13, 1958. The date has a special significance to the library not only because that’s when it was founded but because it is the birthday of one of its chief founders, Walter Cecil Rawls. According to Branch Manager Iola Lamison, it was planned that way.

The ceremony began at 6 p.m. with an introduction by Lamison, followed by a bit of reminiscing by the guest speaker, Katherine Futrell, a local historian, a former librarian at the Courtland library and the author of &uot;The Walter Cecil Rawls Library and Museum: The First Thirty Years, 1958-1988.&uot; She knew both founders, Rawls and Junius W.Pulley, very well and spent some time talking about them and their role in establishing the library.

According to Futrell, Rawls had originally proposed to contribute money to build a library in Ivor. When Pulley suggested that they build a library dedicated to the county rather than just for one area, Rawls heartily agreed. Thus began the construction of the library in Courtland.

After Futrell concluded her speech, Blackwater Regional Library director Patricia Ward took the podium.

She recognized staff member Stanya Yonker for her decorative input on the new color scheme of the library and gave a brief talk about the ideas behind some of the renovations.

“We needed to get new things to attract teens and other young people,” said Ward. “We wanted to set up everything so that it accommodated everyone.”

Over the last couple of years, the library has undergone significant changes.

Some of these changes include a new reading area furnished with brand new furniture and carpet, a new Teen Space, new offices, CD, DVD and magazine racks, computer tables with wireless Internet connection and all new painting. The children’s room was also furnished with new furniture, carpet, blinds and various wall murals painted by local artist Martha Gibson.

“We’ve basically modernized the building and what it has to offer,” said Lamison. “We’ve made a few small adjustments as well, such as reposition the bookshelves so that people can more easily find what they’re looking for.”

To conclude the ceremony, Lamison recognized the many contributors who helped fund the renovations, such as the Camp Foundation, William Cole, Davis Woodworking and several others.

“It really does my heart good to see all of you here,” Lamison told the solid crowd in attendance. “It shows me that people really do care about the library.”

The ceremony was followed by cake and other refreshments provided by the Friends of the Library.