The mission of the Ashley County Library is to enrich the lives of all patrons by supporting lifelong learning through equal opportunity access to technology, information, knowledge, and ideas in a way that encourages growth, success, and creativity.
Director- Holly Gillum
Mary Cate Lamb
In 1935, the American Legion Auxiliary of the Roy Gardner Post Number 75 undertook the project of providing a library for Hamburg, Miss Henrietta Nunn, supervisor of the Auxiliary and Mrs. Lillian Robertson, chairman of the library project, solicited donations of money and books from the citizens of Hamburg.
They received 153 books and $45.75 and on January 3, 1036, the Hamburg Library opened in a twelve by fourteen foot room in the Norman Building at 211 East Lincoln Street. Mr. George Normal supplied a desk, book shelves, a magazine counter, chairs and a small wood stove.
The money collected was used to buy supplies to paper the room, paint the woodwork and purchase a rug. Mrs. Alma Clement was hired as librarian and later federal funding allowed the hiring of a Miss Virginia Weatherly as a full-time assistant.
In 1937, plans were made for county-wide library service and a library board was organized. Ashley County Judge Simpson Powell and the members of the Quorum Court gave a $1000.00 appropriation to the library and the federal government paid the salaries of the librarians, including branch librarians in Crossett, Fountain Hill, and Wilmot.
By 1939 the library had outgrown the one room space and moved to three rooms in the Bankston Building at 201 South Mulberry Street. A branch was also opened in Parkdale. In 1940, the library began receiving state funding as well as an appropriation of $1750.00 from the Quorum Court.
In 1944, Mrs. Ann Hall Veazey was hired as the permanent full-time librarian. Because of World War II, federal funds for salaries stopped and all branches except Crossett were closed. The county and cities provided funding to keep the libraries at Hamburg and Crossett open. In 1946, the City of Crossett voted for a city tax in support of the Crossett Library and it became an independent city library. The citizens of Ashley County voted in favor of a half-mill tax in support of the County Library in 1948 and in 1954 voted to raise this tax to one mill.
After the death of Mrs. Norman, her heirs deeded the Normal property to Ashley County for the purpose of building a library on the property. The library board planned and supervised the construction of a library building which opened in December of 1955. In 1960, a wing was added to house the children’s department and in 1978 a new front entrance was added.
In 1980, after 36 years of dedicated service to the library, Mrs. Ann Veazey retired. Miss Jan Carpenter was hired as librarian and she remained in that position for four years. Upon her resignation, Mrs. Henrietta Thompson was hired as the librarian and served 36 years in the position of director. In 2016, Mrs. Thompson retired and Mrs. Holly Gillum was hired as library director and continues to serve in that position.
Since its modest beginnings in 1935, the library has continued to grow and thrive. This growth is credited to the dedication, interest, and support of the citizens of Ashley County. From a one-room building with a wood burning stove to a facility which provides the latest technology advances for the patrons of the county, the library continues to serve the citizens of Ashley County and meet the needs of the good people of the county.