Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library Endowment

In 1967, Mrs. Randall (Jeanne) Murrill, was named to the newly-formed Board of Directors of the Carnegie Library (now the Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library) under the terms of a new tripartite agreement between the Wood County Board of Education, the Wood County Court, and the City of Parkersburg. This agreement established an independent five-member Board for the Library, previously governed by the Board of Education. Joel Stern served as first Board President, Don Northrup as Treasurer, Joseph Handlan as Secretary, Jack Poe as supervisor of building and maintenance, and Mrs. Murrill as supervisor of Personnel. Mrs. Murrill served on the Board from 1967 through 1971, and was instrumental in reactivating the Independent Friends of the Library Society, aiding and encouraging later expansion of services and facilities for the Library.

 

Though now a Florida resident, Mrs. Murrill’s interest in supporting the Parkersburg area has continued over the years, and she established a permanent endowment fund with the Community Foundation to support the Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library’s needs.

 

The Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library has a long history of serving local residents’ needs, beginning with the first public services in 1891 in one room above a local bookstore. The original library collection numbered one thousand volumes and was available to approximately a hundred subscribers. Over one hundred years later, today’s library holds over 258,000 resources in the main Emerson Avenue facility, over 35,000 in the Bookmobile, and another 35,000 through its satellite facilities in Waverly, Williamstown and in south Parkersburg. In addition to books, the library circulates videos, compact discs, computer software, pamphlets, and audiovisual equipment.

 

The first paid librarian earned just a few dollars weekly, working a few hours every other day and Saturday evenings. In addition to the extensive hours now offered by the Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library, programs such as RIF (Reading is Fundamental), films, story hours and tours are offered. Today’s library provides satellite classes, teleconferences, personal computer and typewriter rental, Internet usage for adults and young readers, fax equipment usage and interlibrary loan services.

 

While times have certainly changed in the past century, one thing that remains is the need for additional supportive services for the Library to continue to maintain and to offer high quality programs and facilities for the public.

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