History of the Taylor County Public Library

Taylor County Public Library

The spacious Taylor County Public Library was dedicated in fitting ceremony on May 15, 1981, before a capacity crowd. Frederic J. Glazer, director of the West Virginia Library Commission delivered the Dedication Address and Edward A. Whitescarver was master of ceremonies.

The Taylor County Public Library had its beginning in 1923 when the Order of Eastern Star woman's club set it up as a club project in a small basement room in the Courthouse. G. Minette Watkins, librarian at Grafton High School at the time, was the prime mover in organizing this first library. The basement room became too small and the library was moved to the Forcella building, where the Taylor County Supply Store is presently located. Soon after, the library was moved to a room on the second floor of the former Grafton Banking and Trust Company building. A short time after that it was moved once again, this time to the Grafton City building. A fourth move was made around 1963 to two rooms in the basement of the Andrews Methodist Church building, vacated following the construction of the Church of the Good Shepherd, and now the International Mother's Day Shrine. The first local Library Commission was established in 1966 according to federal requirements for funding eligibility.

In October, 1969, it was announced that a comprehensive new library was a real prospect for Taylor County. Representatives of the County Court, the City, and the Board of Education joined the Taylor County Library Board in approving the moving of the library from the Andrews church building to the Beaver Estate building at 220 W. Main Street, next to the Sheriff's residence. The Woman's Club of Grafton voted to give $1,300 and the Eastern Star woman's club, the founder of the first library, presented a check for $1,000. Other contributions came in and on January 31, 1970, two trucks were at the new library with the first book shelves. The entire moving operation was a co-operation between the young men of the Grafton High School Key Club and the girls of the Keywanette Club, who arranged book placement. However, by 1975, it was apparent this new location was too overcrowded. Space was desperately needed to keep the library near national and state standards for a library to serve the entire county. In April, 1977, it was announced a new building to house the Public Library could be possible in about two years if plans being considered went through.

In January, 1979, the Taylor County Library Board received word that Governor Jay Rockefeller had approved a $125,000 Appalachian Regional Commission grant for the construction of a new building. Combined with the $250,425 in a West Virginia Library Commission grant and the revenue sharing allotments from the City of Grafton and the County Commission, the Library Board had a total of $496,250 in money for the new building which permitted the Board to move forward with construction plans. An additional $25,000 grant came from the Appalachian Regional Commission. Other major funding sources included the following: The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation; Daywood Foundation, Inc.; Rex-Hide Inc.-Challange to Taylor County Citizens; Baltimore and Ohio Chessie Railroad System; Taylor County League for Service; Taylor County Friends of the Library; Tygart Valley Charitable Trust; Blueville Bank of Grafton; AFG Industries, Inc.; and Quality Machine Company. On January 18, 1979, it was announced that a site at the corner of Beech and Walnut streets on the city's west side had been chosen for the new Taylor County Public Library. The new Taylor County Public Library is now a structure of modern design with the first floor containing the library proper. A balcony, designated as an adult reading area, was equipped through a $5,000 contribution by the Kiwanis Club of Grafton. Also located on the second floor is a conference room, a large assembly room where various organizations can meet, a small kitchen, a room for periodicals, and two storage areas.