April 21: Groundbreaking For Library Expansion

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Groundbreaking ceremonies for the expansion and renovation of Adams Memorial Library are scheduled for Saturday, April 21 a 2 o’clock. A contract was signed last week in which Preston Brothers Construction Co. of Woodbury will do the construction work beginning immediately after the groundbreaking.

With family and friends looking on, a student from each of Cannon County Schools will wield a decorated shovel for the groundbreaking ceremony. The students were selected in an essay contest last year and have ben patiently waiting to perform the shoveling duties as their prize.

The plans include a 3,000 square foot addition to the south end of the present building and a complete renovation of the building that was built in 1965. Also included in the plans are a paved and lighted parking lot that will accommodate easy access to the new entrance on the west side of the building.

Explosive growth of library usage in recent years has made it necessary to provide additional space and facilities for the more than 5,400 registered library users. Last year the library had just under 50,000 visits by its patrons. The eight computers available for public had 12,364 users last year.

The building is owned by the Dr. and Mrs. J. F. Adams Memorial Association and provided at no cost to the county. The association also funds all maintenance and upkeep of the property.

Soon after Dr. J. F. Adams died in 1964 a group of Woodbury Lions Club members, urged on by Sol Berger, then owner of Colonial Shirt Co. here in Woodbury, met and organized a non-profit corporation for the purpose of building and maintaining a library to house the only public library in the county. The library was housed in a basement room of the Cannon County Courthouse at that time. The state charter was signed by the following organizers: Austin Jennings, Hoyt Bryson, Waldon Watson, W. L. Richardson, Leonaard Friedman, Sol Berger and R. W. Hawkins

Dr. and Mrs. Adams impacted the lives of practically every Cannon Countian over a long period of time. He built Good Samaritan Hospital and provided health care for all who needed it regardless of their ability to pay. Dr Adams headed a group that bought Commerce Union Bank’s Woodbury branch. It was renamed Bank of Commerce and, under his direction, grew to total assets of nearly $100 million. He led in converting the antiquated telephone system to a modern dial-up system before it was converted to DeKalb Telephone Cooperative.

Mrs. Adams headed the committee that organized and put on the centennial celebration in 1936 marking the 100th birthday of Cannon County. She was very much involved in the daily operation of Good Samaritan Hospital, providing meals for the patients until they could afford to hire cooks; and she did the hospital laundry at her home on College Street until they could afford laundry facilities in the hospital.

Mrs. Adams donated the land adjacent to their College Street home on which the library building is located. Various members of the Adams family were among the first and most generous contributors during the fundraising in 1964-65 in which hundreds of Cannon Countians made generous donations.The Adams family later contributed the family home to the library association endowment fund. Sol Berger was a major contributor and his daughters Renee and Sandye are strong financial supporters of the library and helped launch the fund campaign for the expansion project.

Fundraising for this project began more than three years ago with a $100,000 gift from Ann and Tommy Thomason of Laurens, S. C, (Ann is the daughter of the late Hoyt and Frances Bryson) and a similar gift from the Andy Adams Family Foundation. The Sol Berger family also made funds available that made it practical to think the growth project was doable.

A building committee was organized and plans started to take shape. Street Dixon Rick Architecture, PLC was engaged and serious work began, first on an extensive two-floor addition to the rear of the present building. This plan necessitated the acquisition of  the Curtis Morris property to the south for adequate parking.  When this plan proved to be beyond the financial ability of the association, the present plan was developed extending the building with a one-story addition to the south onto the Morris property and developing a paved, lighted parking lot to the west of the building with the entrance being on that side of the new addition.

Members of the building committee are: Angela Ott, Charlie Harrell, Nolan Travis, Bill Bryson, Herb Alsup, treasurer, Chip Jones, architect and Rita Allen, the library director as chairperson.

The Dr. and Mrs. J. F. Adams Memorial Association’s directors are: Wilma Adams, Angela Ott, Barbara Parker, Jackie Francis, Steve Smith, Donnie Odom, Charlie Harrell,   Gerald Molitor, Herb Alsup, Regina Merriman, secretary, and Austin Jennings, chairman. LIbrary Director Rita Allen serves as ex-officio member of this group.

Friends of Adams Memorial Library, an organized group of volunteers, have given all the proceeds for the past three annual “Roast” activities to the building fund and have pledged the same from the roast of Arna Smitson on April 19.

The fundraising campaign is headed by Peggy Tate and Charlie Harrell as co-chairmen and Austin Jennings as campaign advisor. Others on that committee are Lois Larimer, Wilma Adams, Melissa and Matt Tepley, Herb Alsup and Angie Ott. They will launch a  general fundraising campaign with the groundbreaking ceremony that will give every person in Cannon County opportunity to contribute toward the $200,000 needed to be able to have the project completely paid for upon its completion in December of this year.

The public is invited to attend the groundbreaking ceremony at the library on College Street on Saturday, April 21 at 2 p.m.

Light refreshments will be served.
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