HISTORY OF THE RUSSELLVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
The Russellville Library Club opened the first public library in Russellville on February 14, 1913. This group had worked for several months to provide a library for Russellville’s citizens. Each member paid a $2.50 initiation fee, donated books and volunteered time to serve as librarians.The library was housed in an upstairs room on Jackson Avenue, donated by Mr. C.E. Wilson.
In 1936, the library was moved to the courthouse annex. The county provided staff, space and utilities. In 1942, the State Library Service and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) set up the library in another part of the courthouse. The old library donated its 1000 books to the new facility and the WPA provided 550 volumes. When the WPA closed in 1943, the county took over full responsibility of the library calling it the Franklin County Public Library until 1974 when the library was moved to West Lawrence Street.
The library was renovated by the Russellville Jaycees, the American Legion and the VFW. A group was incorporated as the Russellville Library Fund of the City of Russellville Public Library.
The library remained at this location due to the generosity of the American Legion until January 1994, when a building located at 110 East Lawrence Street was given by the Creamer family to the city to be used as a library.
Many volunteers worked to renovate the building and to move the library to the new location at minimal cost to the city.
In 2002 the materials in the Major William Russell Genealogy Room were moved to the new Franklin County Archives and the room was turned into a “Friends of the Library” bookstore and computer room.
In 2015 the library began renovations including plans to convert the Friends of the Library used bookstore in to a children’s wing. The children’s wing is nearing completion and will be unveiled in memory of Judge Joe Gilliland sometime in 2018.
Currently one full time librarian, one part time assistant and one part time aide serve the patrons. The library relies heavily on volunteers for programs and community outreach.
Members of the Library Board of Directors govern the library. The Russellville City Council and the mayor appoint the library board members.
This history was prepared in 2009 by: Jimmie Pilati, retired board member
Updated in 2018 by: Ashley Cummins, Library Director
Current Library Board Members:
Cheri McCain, Board Chair
Gena Habig, Vice Chair
Current Advisory Members: