Friday, June 27, 2014

Shenandoah Community Library

History of the Shenandoah Community Library

The Shenandoah Community Library, known as the Shenandoah Community Center Library prior to May 26, 1997, was established by the Chairman of the Women’s Club Library Committee, Virginia Melton, who had taught for 30 years at the Shenandoah Elementary School. It was the second branch to be founded in Page County, Virginia. Dorothy Wilson, a friend of Virginia Melton, mailed 70 books to Mrs. Melton from California which was the beginning of a town library in the Shenandoah Community Center. Other book donations followed and a room at the end of the Shenandoah Community Center was dedicated Sept. 10th, 1972 as the library. Facing the front of the Community Center building, the library was on the right end of the building. At its peak operation the room held 5,000 volumes.

The library was staffed by volunteers. Virginia Melton worked at the library for 22 years as the volunteer head librarian. She was the first librarian who cataloged the books for the library. Mrs. Melton was a great believer of the outreach program. She would take books to the shut-ins who could not come to the library, then pick-up and return the books to the library. Before Virginia Melton retired and went to live with her son in Texas, she asked Ruth Reid, an employee of the then Rockingham County Library, to be the caretaker of the Shenandoah Library and keep it established for the Shenandoah Community for future generations.

Virginia Melton passed away three months before the Shenandoah Library in the Town of Shenandoah received a Trust fund of $435,000 from Boston, Massachusetts called the Ann S. Barb Trust fund. This trust fund was established around 1972 and Mrs. Barb’s son Thomas Barb received the interest until his death in 1997. The trust fund money reverted, per his mother’s wish, to the library in the town of Shenandoah. No one is certain who Ann S. Barb was, but research revealed that Ann S. Barb was a cousin of Virginia Melton, the founder of the Shenandoah Library.