On March 22 our library was honored at the monthly Washington County TN Commissioners Meeting. Our Library Director, Richard Griffin, and Library Board of Trustees Chairman, Gene Hurdt were there to receive an official Proclamation celebrating our 125th Anniversary of library service to the community and 75th Anniversary as an official department of Washington County.
Washington County State of Tennessee Proclamation
Honoring the Washington County-Jonesborough Library upon its 125th Anniversary and upon its 75th Anniversary as a Department of Washington County
WHEREAS, the Washington County-Jonesborough Library took up residence in what was once known as Duncan’s Meadow just in time for the Tennessee Homecoming ‘86 celebration; and
WHEREAS, the library’s story began in 1896 when Mrs. L. H. Patton and Mrs. J. B. Simpson traveled to New York and obtained a commitment for 300 books from the Lend A Hand Society to begin Jonesborough’s first library; in that memorable year, what would become the Washington County-Jonesborough Library began in one small room on the first floor of a building on Jonesborough’s Main Street, opening for one hour once a week, on Wednesday afternoons; and
WHEREAS, Mrs. Patton envisioned a library that served the county far beyond its four walls; so, shortly before the turn of the century, Mrs. Patton had a bookcase made, filled it with books and placed it on a buggy, giving Jonesborough its first traveling library, foreshadowing the Bookmobile Station and branch library in Gray that became a reality in the early 1970’s; and
WHEREAS, for 50 years, between 1902 and 1952, the library’s holdings were housed in many different locations, including accommodations made possible by the Jonesborough’s Schubert Club, the Banking and Trust Company, the then-new Jonesborough High School, and the Grand Jury Room of the Washington County courthouse, and, with the move to the Chester Inn in 1952, the Washington County Library Association was created and the library was officially named; and
WHEREAS, today, as the library boldly steps into the era of technology which enables the library to better serve the community in a number of ways, the current director, Mr. Richard Griffin, credits the strong foundation laid by Mrs. Panhorst Cooke, Mrs. Margaret Henry, Mrs. Louise Wine, Mrs. Johnny Fox, Mrs. Fred Hensley, and Ms. Suzanne Tuggle; and
WHEREAS, in addition to librarians, Jonesborough’s citizens demonstrated their ever-increasing commitment to the library each and every year, from Mr. Rhea Wells’ bequest of his home which was the source, in 1977, of the story time program for preschoolers, to the 1978 organization of a Friends Group founded to expand and promote library services and raise money through popular town events; and
WHEREAS, building on the success of the Washington County-Jonesborough Library and its branch in Gray, the Washington County Library Foundation, formed in 2020, is working toward raising funds to build and furnish two new library facilities; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED that we honor the staff and supporters of the Washington County-Jonesborough Library, celebrate with them the library’s rich history, and congratulate them upon 125 years of unparalleled service to the community and 75 years as a department of Washington County government.
ADOPTED BY THE COUNTY LEGISLATIVE BODY, in session duly assembled, on this, the 22nd day of March 2021.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of Washington County, Tennessee to be affixed in Jonesborough on this 22nd day of March 2021.
~ William J. Grandy, County Mayor
You can visit the Washington County TN Government YouTube channel watch the reception of the Proclamation (at mark 36:50).