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Tallasseee in Pictures:
Community Library

By Michael Butler

A 1940s WWII era research paper lies within a folder tucked inside the Tallassee Community Library. The folder of work is by James McCoy Glenn.

"Situated on one of the loveliest spots in all of Alabama is our Community Library," Glenn wrote. "From the reading room is the magnificent view of the Tallapoosa River, and its gigantic arch which connects our two villages.

"To browse for a few hours in the peace and comfort of our bookshelves and to look out upon such a panorama of beauty refreshes one's soul."

That setting tha McCoy described is the same today. The libary on the east bank of the river, came to life in the early 1920s.

Virginia Noble Golden's adds in her 1949 account of the "History of Tallassee" that the plan for a library was originated by the mill's J. E. Harris.

"The sun room of the Club House was arranged for this purpose," Golden explained. "The books from the girls' clubs, a number from the personal library of Mr. Harrs, together with those purchased by the mils formed the nucleus of the thousands of volumes now on the community library shelves."

E.W. Wadsworth also wrote about the library in his "History of Tallassee" book from 1941.

"Tallassee boasts an excellent community library. The library was opened with only 694 books. Looking from reading room north, one sees the vast waters of Thurlow Dam spreading out between the tree clad hills in picturesque beauty."

Wadsworth said there were over 5,000 books in the library in 1940. Library board chairman Bob Reed puts that number at more than 33,000 today with an annual circulation of approximatley 56,000.

East Tallassee Methodist Church minister W. E. Bryant, was the first librarian, working on a part-time basis.

Miss Mary Lou Martin became the first full-time librarian in 1922. Olivia Solomon described Martin based on Arthur Stewart's portrait of her on display in the library.

"(The) portrait shows her to have been a genteel, cultivated woman of beneficent character," noted Solomon, "a lover of books and learning, born to be a teacher, librarian, and a kindly, guiding light for those who seek knowledge."

To date, Martin holds the longest tenure of any librarian in Tallassee with 26 years of service (1922-48). Mary B. Coker filled the position from 1948-62. Ruby Lanier was librarian from 1962-85. W. C. Bryant, became Tallassee's first male librarian in 1985. He retired in 2000 and was replaced by Sharon Kilpatrick, who served until 2014. Anita Anisworth assumed the role until current director Margaret Lumpkin was promoted to the postion in 2015.

W. C. Bryant described the original East Tallassee Club House.

"The building was covered with green, treated cedar shingles and fronted by three steps leading to a flat landing, then three steps onto the portico that stretched across the front and supported by four huge columns. Three double doors with half windows opened  into the auditorium, which was used by the locals for banquets, dances (I recall watching my daddy square dance there), parties, and other entertainments."

The library was remodeled in the late 1960s and transferred from Mount Vernon Mills to the City of Tallassee in 1978.

Visitors at the library for the paranormal tour

"The librarian’s salary and all other expenditures were responsibilities of the local mill company," Bryant recalled. "After acquisition by the city, the name was changed to Tallassee Community Library. It was during the late ‘80s that the library installed its first computer, joined the infant internet and went to electronic bar codes and computerized circulation and record-keeping."

Among Bryant's visions included the idea to convert the auditorium area to a children's section. The plan came to fruition during Kilpatrick's tenure.

The library has garnered national attention as a haunted place. The site has been utilized for several paranormal investigations. It was also featured by the Biography Channel in a 2011 airing of "My Ghost Story."

Kilpatrick spoke of a such an encounter.

"When it gets real quiet, I hear pages turning. I've caught a glimpse of him. He looks like he's from the early 1900s," she said of the apparition. "The Southern Paranormal Group told me they're not mean. They've never done anything ugly."

Tallassee Community Library
3 Freeman Avenue
East Tallassee

The library has an extensive collection of the Tallassee Mills Briefs

The first edition of the Tallassee Mills Briefs on file at the library

A snippet from the Briefs

View of the Tallapoosa from the main reading room

The Children's Section

Decor on the library walls

Library Director Margaret Lumpkin with participants of the Summer Reading Program

Kicking off the Summer Reading Program

Books from the early days of the library and encyclopedias still on the shelves

Summer Reading Program

Summer Reading Program

The Summer Reading Program culminates with the Summer Bash

From left to right: Calligraphy by W. C. Bryant on the inside cover of a dontated book, Book shelves in the main reading room, Portrait of long-time librarian Miss Mary Lou Martin

The Children's Reading Room was added in 2009

McKenzie and Darnell Gibson display their facepaint in 2014

The library offers a variety of books for every reading level

The library added new doors and bookshelves in 2011 and 2012

The children's reading area

Freeman Avenue view

Flag on display in the foyer

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