Spring Hill Library History
Spring Hill Community Library, now Spring Hill Public Library
by Naomi Derryberry, February 2019
The Spring Hill Community Library was the direct result of a community’s desire for a library and their willingness to work for towards that goal. A petition was circulated by Mrs. Patricia Selle to determine the community’s desire to have a library. At the time the only available books that could be checked out were on a shelf at Howell’s Grocery on Main Street next to the old bank. They were very limited, and word was that some patrons would “forget” to return the books.
The Freedmen School on McLemore Street, formerly an all-black school, was the chosen site. Mr. and Mrs. Fred and Patricia Selle purchased the building and property for $3,000 from the Maury County School Board. Mrs. Selle said she passed the vacant school, which had not been used in the ten years since public schools had been integrated, going or coming from her house. It had great potential, with lots of parking and plenty of floor space. It consisted of two rooms in a frame building measuring 40 x 120 feet. The Freedmen School was built for freed slaves built just after the Civil War. It closed in 1909 and later served as an all-black school until around 1965 when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. When the Selles purchased the building, Mrs. Selle said, “It felt that it was very symbolic, as a library is a way of dispensing knowledge, thus freeing men’s minds.”
Mr. Robert Jones, the Selles’ lawyer, researched the title for the Selles and was most generous with his time. He was very interested in libraries and barely made his expenses. Mrs. Selle wanted him to be recognized.
Miss Glenna Patton, of the Blue Grass Regional Library, suggested that Mrs. Selle work with the county library, so she contacted Mr. David Haines, Chairman of the Library Board and Mrs. Hallie Hudson, Head Librarian. They also recommended that Mrs. Selle work with the town council. Mrs. Selle contacted Mayor R. P. (Pete) Boyd, who suggested that she circulate a petition, and bring it, along with interested citizens, to the town meeting on November 11, 1974.
Mrs. Selle and her children spent a Saturday afternoon, November 9, 1974, knocking on doors with the petition, and not a single person turned them down. The following citizens attended the meeting with Mrs. Selle: Mrs. Martha Cheairs, Ms. Martha Lockridge, Mrs. Judith Scoville, Mr. Noel Evans, Miss Mattie Laura Harris and Mr. Joseph Frye.
Mr. Boyd was Mayor when the town of Spring Hill signed a five-year lease, at $30.00 a month, with an option to renew the lease. The rent covered insurance and taxes. The town also advanced the library $2,500 in funds and furnished water and telephone. With these funds and many hours of volunteer labor, renovation and repairs were made. Miss Glenna Patton agreed that the Blue Grass Regional Library would furnish books for the library if a building was obtained. They provided the initial 2,000 books, with the citizens donating another 500. Shelves were provided by the Maury County Library. Furnishings were by donated by the community.
To cover the operating costs, volunteers took pledges of $12.00 per family to establish a trust fund. The method of acquiring donations was to have 10 people ask 25 citizens to donate $12.00 per family. The 10 people were: Miss Mattie Laura Harris, Mrs. Martha Cheairs, Mrs. Jane Simmons, Ms. Martha Lockridge, Mrs. Stan Robinson, Mrs. Frankie Curry, Mrs. Diane Bennett, Mrs. Linda Bland, Mrs. Aliene Bearden, Mrs. T. B. Glenn, Mrs. Thelma Hopkins and Mrs. Patricia Selle. Only the interest could be spent. The library collected $1,220, which was about half of what had been pledged.
These responses represent many such stories, but the underlying theme was a spirit of cooperation from all citizens.
The business community was also generous. To name a few: Howell’s Grocery, Bailey’s Antiques, Spring Hill Feed and Seed and Cowherd’s Restaurant. Mr. Ward Harris of Florida, who grew up in Spring Hill, heard about the library and sent a very generous contribution and had books for the library as well. Mr. Tomlinson of First Farmers & Merchants Bank was also generous with his time, advice and a donation of books. Mr. and Mrs. George Waddington contributed to the utilities fund along with books. In an article submitted to the Columbia Daily Herald, Mrs. Selle was quoted as saying, “This has truly been a community project with all of us working together. You may not think of a library as being very exciting, but I can tell you this has been.”
Mrs. Martha Cheairs volunteered to act as librarian without pay until the library was funded. Miss Cathy Parks and Mr. James Brewer, along with some of the ladies in the Home Demonstration Club also volunteered. Spring Hill had a building, stock and a staff.
On May 3, 1975 about 200 visitors (out of a town population of 1,000) attended the Grand Opening ceremonies. Most of those applied for a library card. Mrs. Ruth Kinnard was issued library card #1, Mrs. Lucille Bowman card #2, Miss. Mattie Laura Harris card #5, and Mrs. Patricia Selle #31.
The town appointed a Ruling Board that was composed of: Chairman, Mrs. Patricia Selle, Mrs. Aliene Bearden, Mrs. Betty Howell, Mr. Phil Bennett, Mrs. Ruth Kinnard, Mrs. Martha Lockridge, Mrs. Lucille Bowman and Mr. Kermit Sudberry.
The first four months, the library was staffed by volunteers who gave of their time and talents. A record day would see check-outs of up to 65 books a day. The first head librarian was Mrs. Ruth Kinnard with Mrs. Lucille Bowman as an assistant librarian. Mrs. Margaret Dalton Sparks was later employed through the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (C.E.T.A.) Program. Others that followed Mrs. Sparks were Ms. Jane Patton, Ms. Shelia Smith, Ms. Hill Borum and Mrs. Dorothy McCracken.
Funding was by donations and projects. A benefit square dance and auction were also held. Being a full-service library, educational programs, art and photographic exhibits, quilt shows, craft exhibits, story hours and special reading classes were held. In 1978, total circulation for the year was 2,301 books and 3,304 filmstrips.
After serving for five years as Chairman of the Board, Mrs. Selle resigned in August 1980.
A group of interested citizens called “The Friends of the Library” sponsored a flea market and bake sale and raised $1,034.90 in much-needed funds. With the success of this fundraiser, the town voted to move the library to Main Street to better serve the community. Mrs. Bonnie Alderson was appointed chairman and was instructed to appoint a new Library Board. She called an open meeting and election. The new Board was: Mrs. Ruth Kinnard, Mrs. Nancy Kitchen, Mrs. Anne Purdy, Mrs. Lucille Bowman, Mr. Charles Buford and Mr. Daryl King.
The new location was originally the Tom Kinnard Drugstore building on Main Street and was rented for $100 a month. The building still stands and is owned by James Paul Gary of Gary Realty & Auction. Again, the community came together. The Garys donated the building furnishing materials. Volunteers gave many hours of labor to renovate, re-paint and clean up the new location. With the assistance of Blue Grass Regional Library staff and volunteers, the library was moved to the new location on September 3, 1980. An open house was held Sunday, September 28, 1980.
At the new location, citizens increased their use of the library with 241 new library cards issued and book circulation increased from 311 in 1980 to 804 in 1981. There was also an increase of books, many of these being memorial donations. Many educational programs were sponsored, such as a personal appearance of Bill Hall, Channel 4 weatherman and former resident of Spring Hill. There were also programs regarding bicycle safety, railroad safety, Saturday afternoon films for children and senior citizens, and an Easter Story Hour, just to name a few. Monthly circulation grew to 804 books by March, 1981.
The C.E.T.A Program ended April 15, 1981, which left Spring Hill without a librarian. The town of Spring Hill called a public meeting and presented this to the community. Funds and pledges were given to employ a librarian until June 30, 1981. Mrs. Dorothy McCracken was employed but soon resigned due to the limited hours. Mrs. Mary Fox was employed April 1, 1981.
Application was made to be accepted into the Maury County Library System. A budget was submitted to the county and was approved. On July 1, 1981, the library became the Spring Hill Branch of Maury County Library, now subject to the County Board. The Spring Hill Board was dissolved September 25, 1982. Having a trust fund and other monies, “The Friends of the Library” was organized. The first elected officers of the Friends of the Library: President – Mrs. Babs Horton, Vice President – Mrs. Deborah Caldwell, Secretary – Mrs. Cindy Buchannan,
Treasurer – Ms. Gay Erwin, Program – Mrs. Nancy Slattery.
The Friends of the Library by-laws were drawn up with the purpose being to assist the librarian and make long-range plans for a permanent location. Yard and bake sales on the lawn of the Presbyterian Church were yearly fundraisers. Many items not supplied by the county were bought through the events.
Continued growth of the services and use of the library soon proved the present location was inadequate. On September 23, 1988, First Farmers and Merchants Bank, at a news conference, announced the construction of a new bank and stated the present building would be given to the town of Spring Hill as a future home of the library. The town of Spring Hill was required to pay $100,000 for the lot.
Construction of the new bank began on July 17, 1989, with a dedication on February 26, 1990. Keys to the old bank building at 5317 Main Street were presented to Mayor Boyd. The building is on the corner of Main Street and Depot Street and is now the location of Jimmy’s Dry Cleaners. In order for the State of Tennessee to approve the building for a library location, extensive remodeling had to be done. The town applied for and won a State grant of $125,000. Remodeling began in the fall of 1991 on the 3,100 square-foot building. Meanwhile, Miss Helen Dark was the selected as the new librarian July 1, 1992. Renovation was completed and the Spring Hill Branch of Maury County Library moved to its new location August 19, 1992. Again, many volunteers worked diligently to see this move accomplished.
A special thank you was made:
To the Mayor and City Council of the Town of Spring Hill for making the move possible.
To the Blue Grass Regional Library staff who moved the entire library.
To Mr. A.C. Howell and the Maury County Sheriff’s Department and others who helped set up the shelving, donated by the Friends of the Library.
To the county for donating chairs, tables and a check-out desk from the old Spring Hill High School, and to Mr. and Mrs. Paul and Effie Heiss for cleaning and restoring them.
To Librarians Helen Dark and Mary Fox Brown and the Friends of the Library who volunteered many hours of labor, cleaning, repairing, and refinishing the furnishings.
Also, to all those who furnished refreshments for the workers during this time.
The open house was held October 18, 1992 from 2:00 to 4:00pm. It was hosted by the Friends of the Library. There were 106 who signed the register, with an estimated 150 attending. At the event, Mrs. Margaret Sparks was introduced as the first paid librarian. Mrs. Ruth Kinnard and Lucille Bowman were again recognized as volunteer librarians and the number 1 and 2 library card holders. Both remained active with the Friends of the Library. Mrs. Patricia Selle was recognized as being the most influential person in getting the Spring Hill Community Library started. Officers of the First Farmers and Merchant Bank presented Naomi Derryberry, president of the Friends of the Library, with a check for $2,000 for the library. Recently retired librarian Mary Fox Brown was introduced and recognized for her 13 years of service and was presented with an etched crystal bowl.
There were 98 new library cards issued between August 1, 1992 and October 1, 1992.
The Board of Mayor and Alderman approved a resolution creating an independent library system for Spring Hill by withdrawing from the Maury County Public Library system effective September 1, 1998. One alderman was absent, but the vote passed 8-0. Mayor Ron Hankins and city leaders wished to end the haggling with the county over funding. Maury County government planned to decrease the library’s funding each year as the Williamson County patrons at Spring Hill Library continued to increase. Library Board Members: Chairperson - Mrs. Effie Heiss, Mrs. Betty Boyd, Mr. Charles Buford, Mr. R.M. McKinley, Mrs. Ann Russell, Mr. Bruce Scotten, Mrs. Ruth Wells. In 2000, Mr. Randy Fisher replaced Mr. Charles Buford.
On September 9, 1999 Alice Butcher was added as a full-time employee increasing the staff to two full-time employees.
On August 20, 2001 Spring Hill Library was established by city ordinance. Library Board 2000-2001: Chairperson – Metta Humphrey, Glenn Alexander, Ann Lindsey, Rita Jenkins, Brandon McCulloch, Donna Phillips, Ruth Wells, and Mayor Ray Williams.
In March 2001, the city of Spring Hill purchased the Saturn Daycare “Center for Discovery” at auction $378,000. In March of 2002, the Spring Hill Public Library moved to 144 Kedron Parkway and opened in April 2002. The grand opening was held August 17, 2002 and was attend by more than 100 citizens.
In 2004, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library offered books to Spring Hill’s children.
An addition was added to the library in May, 2006, doubling its size.
In 2018, the Mayor and Board of Alderman voted to purchase the property from the State of Tennessee known as Northfield. The property was originally owned by General Motors and part of the Saturn plant that was built in 1986. The property was purchased for $8,500,000 with the intent to move the Spring Hill Public Library, the Spring Hill Police Department and other city departments.
Resolution 17-59 to confirm the selection of HBM Architects to design and supervise construction of the new Spring Hill Public Library was passed in July 19, 2018 by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. The resolution gave approval to proceed with the remodeling design of sections 100, 200, and 300 of the Northfield property. The contract was to remodel the first floor and a section of the second floor.
The Friends of the Spring Hill Library made a financial commitment to furnish the Makerspace, pavers for a courtyard, fountain, statue and the renovation of the second floor. It was later decided that the fountain would be a challenge to maintain and the city recommended that the Friends forgo the fountain. Also, the cost of the renovation of the second floor was determined to be too costly and would require the replacement of the central heat and air, as well as other supplemental systems. The statue was funded by a private donation.
The fundraising effort was started in September 2018. The first event was a donation from BoomBozz from library patrons’ visits to their restaurant which was followed by Panera Bread. The Friends of the Library also sponsored an Appraisal Fair hosted by Sam Holden II, which brought in $1,500 for the library renovation fund. Later additional restaurants, such as Frankie’s, Mockingbird and Marco’s Pizza joined in, donating a percentage of patrons' visits to the library.
Librarians and Directors:
Mrs. Martha Cheairs, Librarian 1975
Mrs. Ruth Kinnard, Librarian
Mrs. Margaret Sparks, Librarian 1977 – 1978
Mrs. Hill Borum, Librarian 1978 – 1980
Mrs. Mary Fox Brown, Librarian January 1980 – July 1992
Miss Helen Dark, Librarian July 1992 – September 2005
Mr. Dave Fulkerson, Director September 2002 – April 2011
Ms. Julie Caudle, Librarian May 2005 – January 2008
Mrs. Marsha Gallardo, Librarian December 2006 - present
Mrs. Gail Fox Adkins, Librarian and Asst. Director January 2008 – June 2016
Mr. Alan Couch, Director 2012-2014
Mr. Hulen Bivins, Director February 2016 – February 2018
Ms. Dana Juriew, Librarian, Asst. Director, and now Director August 2016 – present
Ms. Amber Halter, Librarian and Assistant Director September 2018 - present
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