Piggott Library to Celebrate 30th Anniversary

Thursday, December 4, 2014
The current staff of the Piggott Public Library includes, from left: Front-Library Director Gay Johnson. Back-Assistant Director Sherry Baber and Clerk Haley Foster.

For generations the Piggott Public Library has been a cornerstone of the community, serving thousands of patrons of all ages. First started as a community project of a local women's organization in 1935, the facility had meager beginnings in a single room of the home of Lura Brown.

Just a short time later, community leaders came together and raised the money to build the first library, which housed the facility for nearly 50 years. But, over the course of the decades the need for a new building became evident, and was addressed in the early 1980's.

The vision became a reality in December of 1984, as the current library on West Main Street was completed and opened to the public. The new 5,000 square foot building was finished in November, and over the course of a five week period the inventory was moved to the new building.

The project was completed thanks to a $55,000 federal grant, but the bulk of the $142,850 price tag was raised locally.

Boasting some 16,000 volumes, plus audio-visual materials, the new library was opened with a dedication and ribbon cutting on Sunday, Dec. 9. The following day, Monday, Dec. 10, the library opened to the public for the first time.

In recognition of the 30th anniversary of the building, two special events are planned in the coming week.

The first event on the schedule to mark the anniversary is a special Christmas concert by Brian and Terri Kinder, "Joy to the World It's Christmas." The concert is co-sponsored by the library and Piggott State Bank, and it will be held at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6, at the Piggott Community Center.

"The show is free to the public and everyone is welcome to attend," noted Library Director Gay Johnson. "The Kinders have become such local favorites thanks to their annual concerts on the square with our Storytime series, and thanks to Piggott State Bank everyone will be able to enjoy a great Christmas concert."

An open house has also been planned to coincide with the anniversary of the opening of the new library building. The open house will be held during regular library hours, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., on Wednesday, Dec. 10.

"We want to invite all of our patrons to take a few minutes and stop by during the open house--it will be going on all day," Johnson added. "We'll be serving refreshments and we'd really like a chance to visit with everyone."

A 35-plus year employee, Johnson was named Librarian prior to the old library's closing and now serves as Library Director. Also on staff is another long time employee, Sherry Baber, who serves as assistant director, along with clerk Haley Foster.

Under Johnson's guidance the facility has expanded in both volumes and services, and has continued to grow to meet the demands of the community. In recent years the efforts have included new in-roads in the area of digital information, including the addition of computers and public internet access.

From those humble beginnings in the shadows of the Great Depression, the local library has continued to grow and prosper. Today, the Piggott Public Library boasts over 40,000 items, and has one of the most in-depth genealogy departments in the region.

Those wanting additional information on the Kinders concert, the open house or any of the offerings at the Piggott Public Library may call them at 598-3666.

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