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History of the Haywood County Public Library

1891 Waynesville women started the Waynesville Library. First stockholders meeting was in W. B. Ferguson’s Law Office on Main Street. Each stockholder paid $5.00. First president was Captain Alden Howell. Library was supported by teas, suppers, bazaars and annual subscriptions. Waynesville Library bought the empty rock building (formerly the bank) on Main Street with subscriptions.

1915 Canton Women’s Club formed a library in Canton, raising needed money by teas, bazaars, suppers and public subscriptions.

1934 Depression forced brief closing of the Waynesville Library. It was reopened through use of Works Progress Administration (WPA) funds.

1943 Waynesville Library organized on a county-wide basis. Commissioners appointed to the Board of Trustees: Colonel J. Harden Howell, Chairman; Mrs. Troy Leatherwood, George A. Brown, Jr., Mrs. Hilda Way Gwyn, Glenn Palmer, Mrs. H. A. Helder.

1944 Haywood County Public Library hired its first professional librarian, Margaret Johnston.

1948 A panel bookmobile, purchased by public subscription, went into operation.


1954 In memory of W. B. Ferguson, his family gave their former home and grounds at Boyd Avenue and Haywood Street for the Waynesville Library. Reuben B. Robertson provided a building for the Canton Library.

1958 Funds were raised by a public campaign, chaired by Tom Alexander and Jonathan Woody, for remodeling the Waynesville building. Mrs. Hilda Way Gwyn, Chairman of the Board of Trustees , presided at the dedication.

1958 A bookmobile was purchased through a public fund drive matching a grant from A.L. Freedlander.

1967 A North Carolina local history and genealogy collection was organized, including memorial books to William Medford and a genealogy donated by Colonel R. K. Smathers.

1968 Friends of the Haywood County Public Library was incorporated.

1972 Haywood County Public Library and Canton Public Library consolidated, unifying the county’s library services.

1976 The Library won approval for a specially funded outreach project, setting up five rural mini-libraries.

1979 The Appalachian Regional Commission approved a matching grant of $634,370 for a new library building. Sam Wiggins chaired the campaign which raised matching contributions from Haywood County government, municipalities, industries, business and professional organizations and many individuals.

1980 A ground breaking ceremony for the new library was held on August 15.

1981 Dedication for the new Haywood County Public Library headquarters was on October 30.


1985 Library adds Sunday hours 1:30 – 5:00.

1986 Time Space Voyager sculpture by Tom Grubb installed.

1987 Pennsylvania Avenue School (site for new Canton library) burns for a second time.

1988 Funds were raised by a public campaign, chaired by Jack Patrick, to build a new library in Canton.

1989 On March 1, the new Canton branch opened to the public.

1990 On May 15, the library brought up the Dynix automation system.

1995 Library connected to the Internet through the North Carolina Information Network.

1999 Dedication for the sculpture In Wind We Woven Weave by Daniel Miller in honor of former Library Director Katherine Armitage.

2001 Renovations to Maggie Valley Library brings the mini-library up to a full-service branch.

2004 On December 7, the Fines Creek library opened.

2012 In September, the library joined NC Cardinal, a state-wide consortium of libraries that use a single online catalog and share resources.
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