Cherryville Branch Library celebrates 60 years
by DANDRIA BRADLEY
GCPL Program Coordinator
The Cherryville Branch Library held a drop-in event on Tuesday, July 23, to celebrate the library’s 60th Anniversary. Gaston County Public Library staff, as well as staff from Gaston County Public Works, and people from the community attended the event.
The library officially opened its doors to the public on Feb. 21, 1959 at its location on East Main Street.
Branch Supervisor Traci Pollitt has worked at the branch library since January 2014, and at Tuesday’s celebration, she posted pictures of the library in its various stages over the years around the building and discussed its history. Guests helped themselves to refreshments, watched a slideshow presentation about the library and its renovations, and looked through several scrapbooks in the meeting room. Library patron M’Shel Bowen found a picture of her mom in one of the scrapbooks on display.
Like the Main Library, the Cherryville Branch Library had humble beginnings, starting as a small community library.
In 1957, Gaston County voters passed a 5-cent tax levy on each 100-dollar valuation of the taxable property in Gaston County to support branch library operations. The vote allowed the county commissioners to spend up to $250,000 in capital funds for the construction of a new branch library in Bessemer City, Cherryville, Dallas, and Mt. Holly, as well as remodeling and enlarging the Main library on 115 West Second Ave., in Gastonia. In Cherryville, the tax vote passed 228 to 62. It was at this time that the Cherryville Library became part of the Gaston County Public Library system.
In September 1969, town leaders wanted to expand the library, which was 2,800 square feet at the time. The property next to the Cherryville Branch Public Library was purchased for $12,500 with monies donated by Cherryville citizens. A group of civic leaders, led by former Cherryville Mayor W.T. Robinson, conducted the fundraiser. The building went under construction in 1972, and the newly expanded library, now 9,300 square feet, opened to the public in January 1973.
The Cherryville Branch Library closed again on May 9, 1988 for renovations, which included the addition of a magazine room, shelving, new roof and insulation, lighting, carpeting, and handicapped-accessible restrooms. The newly renovated library held its dedication and open house in October 1988.
Just recently, the Cherryville Branch Library completed another round of renovations, which included making its restrooms compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as building a new front walkway with steps leading up to the branch from the city sidewalk. There is also a ramp from the front door down to the sidewalk. Crews also installed new flooring in the front lobby and new carpeting in the staff workroom.
Said Branch Supervisor Pollitt, “It was lovely to hear our patrons talk about their memories of our branch, how much this library has meant to them over the years.
“We look forward to serving the Cherryville community for many, many years to come.”
(Additional material for this story by Eagle editor Michael E. Powell)