Book traces history of Franklin library

Published 8:27 am Wednesday, June 3, 2009

FRANKLIN—The Ruth Camp Campbell Memorial Library contains thousands of tomes on thousands of subjects.

One of those books is a little more personal, though.

Longtime Franklin resident Lois Minetree, with help from her friend Patricia Clark, has written a history of the library, copies of which can be borrowed from the building on College Drive.

Minetree interviewed Franklin natives and researched scrapbooks and old newspapers for “The History of the Franklin, Virginia Public Library.” She put more than a year’s time into the project.

“I wanted people to understand how wonderful the library is, what is available here and what a jewel they have in this small town,” she said. Minetree retired from working at the library in 1987.

The 10-page book reveals that a committee of women from the Woman’s Club in Franklin decided in 1926 that the need for a public library existed here. Its first home was a “small space in the furniture store of Mr.

W.H. Lankford on the corner of Second Avenue and Main Street,” the book said.

In 1940 it occupied a house on Third Avenue — the present home of the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce. Its next home was on Second Avenue, where the Pace House Inn now sits. The newest location on College Drive opened in 1992.

Clark put Minetree’s words into Microsoft Word and then edited the book, although she said it wasn’t hard work because Minetree was careful with the details.

“It’s very accurate,” Clark, a member of the Friends of the Library board and former head librarian, said. “Lois did 99 percent of the work.”

Minetree said she wanted to write the book to preserve the history of the library.

“With all of the cuts in funding, the library needs all the help it can get,” Minetree said.