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About meI am the Library Director of the Clifton Forge Public Library.
About my libraryThe mission of the Clifton Forge Public Library is to inform, educate, and entertain the public through a variety of programs, print and non-print sources and community activities. In December 1971, Clifton Forge was the only city in Virginia without a public library. The Clifton Forge City Council passed a resolution to authorize and to approve the Clifton Forge Public Library, and appointed the first Library Board of Trustees: Edith Chucker, Lois Morris, George Fischer, Peter Kostel, Charles Whitmer, and James McMullan. The City Council further resolved to grant funds in the amount of $1,651 for the support of the Library from January 1, 1972 through June 30, 1972. In addition, $.60 per capital was budgeted for the 1973 fiscal year.
The Clifton Forge Woman’s Club loaned their collection of books and their building as a temporary home for the Library. Using funds appropriated by the City Council, and other donated funds, local school and college librarians selected books. Volunteers, under the direction of Elizabeth Scott, processed the new books and the Woman’s Club’s books. On June 1, 1972, Frances Richmond was hired as the first librarian. Mrs. Richardson accomplished the final preparations for the library’s opening, but resigned at the end of June, because of her husband’s job transfer. Ann Duff became the librarian, and the Library opened July 11, 1972 with a collection of 3,210 books.
Mrs. Duff served until January 1973, when Christina Bilger assumed the position. Two Dabney S. Lancaster Community College work-study students assisted the Librarian. The Library was open twenty hours a week during late afternoons and early evenings and on Saturday mornings. A circulation desk, card catalog, shelving, and a typewriter were purchased during the first year, and the Virginia State Library provided a special collection of large print books.
On Sunday July 20, 1975, three and one-half years after the City Council appropriated funds for the building; the permanent home of the Clifton Forge Public Library was dedicated. The building was funded with $67,000 from the state and federal governments, a matching grant of $67,000 from the City of Clifton Forge, $20,000 from the Appalachian Regional Fund, and $23,000 in donations. Built to house 16,000 volumes, the new building has 3,800 square feet, and cost $179,360. When the building opened, the Library had 6,747 books, and was open 40 hours a week. Claudia Nicely served as Librarian from 1973 to 1984. She contributed much to the success of the Library, helping with the construction and furnishing of the new building, and with newspaper articles and activities for children and adults, and later served on the Clifton Forge Public Library Board of Trustees. In 1984 Susan Foster became the Librarian.
Michael W. Armstrong became the Library Director July 31, 1985, and remained in that capacity until 2001. He guided the expansion of the 1975 building to the present-day Library, which added 4,787 square feet, more than doubling the square footage of the building. Groundbreaking for the $560,000 addition to the Library took place on March 24, 1997. A substantial grant provided by the Alleghany Foundation, City of Clifton Forge funds, local donations, and Library Services and Construction Act Title II funds made the addition of much needed space possible.
In 1994, the Galaxy System was purchased and installed in the Library. Patrons no longer signed book cards to check out books, but used new plastic library cards with barcodes. Library cards were scanned into the Galaxy System computer before patrons checked out books. In 1999, the Library offered Internet access on the Gates computers provided by the Gates Foundation’s Computers for Libraries program. These computers, currently in use, are the ones adult patrons access the Internet. The Gates computers have outlived their ability to function quickly, often freezing when patrons are using them. Heavily used computers have a “life” of four to six years, and should be replaced on a rotating basis to alleviate the necessity of replacing them all at one time.
On June 4, 1998, local and state officials and librarians attended the dedication of the expanded Clifton Forge Public Library. The children’s area was enlarged, providing additional space for books, shelving, and tables. Space for reference materials was increased and included connections for public-access computers. A community room, which could be used during and after library hours, included a small kitchen area, and seating capacity for 50 people, completed the expansion. The Library’s collection exceeded 30,000 volumes.
In May 2001, the Clifton Forge City Council and the Clifton Forge Public Library Board of Trustees honored Michael Armstrong by naming the community room for him. Later that year, the Library lost its beloved director.
Laura Massey became Acting Director, During Ms. Massey’s tenure, the Library continued to provide programs for patrons and publish a Library brochure. Ms. Massey, along with two part-time assistants and the Board of Trustees, celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Clifton Forge Public Library in July 2002. Ms. Massey researched the Library’s ability to upgrade to a windows and web-based integrated library system.
Dr. Elizabeth Locher was appointed the Director of Library Services on September 14, 2004 by the Clifton Forge Town Council. During her tenure, patron services were increased; opening hours were standardized and expanded to 42 hours each week. The 1987 Policy Manual was updated to reflect the use of automation, computers, and Internet Services in the Library.
On September 14, 2009, Karen Kuhn was appointed as the new Director of Library Services to the Clifton Forge Public Library during a time of economic downturn for the Commonwealth of Virginia and other localities. She has a Master’s in Library and Information Science from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and is also holds a certificate from the Commonwealth of Virginia to practice as a Professional Librarian in the Commonwealth of Virginia. During her tenure, policies in the 2006 Policy Manual have been updated and revised, the website updated and enhanced, and providing innovative ways to increase patron use and programming with minimal cost to the town.
GroupsLibrarians who LibraryThing
Membership LibraryThing Early Reviewers/Member Giveaway
Real nameClifton Forge Public Library
Location535 Church St., Clifton Forge, VA 24422
Favorite authorsNot set
Account typepublic, lifetime
Member sinceSep 7, 2010