Cooleemee library celebrating 60th year

Published 8:58 am Thursday, September 23, 2021

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By Marcia D. Phillips

Davie County

Public Library

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Cooleemee Library as a branch library of the Davie County Public Library.

While Erwin Mills No. 3 had created a library in the town for its workers and other residents, a relationship was born in 1961 when the Cooleemee Library was made a branch library of the Davie County library system. The mill continued to provide the facility and pay the salary of librarian Mrs. C.W. Shepherd, but federal funds allowed the Davie County Bookmobile to bring new books (replacing what was described as substandard) and up-to-date reference materials on a monthly basis.

Records from 1968 show that 6,731 books had circulated in the Cooleemee library during the year, two thirds of them listed as juvenile, for the young people.

When Burlington Industries bought out Erwin Mills in 1962, it began closing some of its operations and the mill in Cooleemee, the primary employer in the town, ceased operations in 1969. Along with the mill itself, many of the facilities it had provided closed.

In 1971, in the final edition of the Cooleemee Journal, an article stated that the library would reopen on Feb. 1, thanks to the Davie County Public Library Board of Trustees and the Davie County Commissioners. The town might have felt like it had taken a blow but the library would survive.

It announced that it would be open 15 hours a week, mostly the two hours after school, and Carolyn White, a Cooleemee native, would be the librarian. It continues to serve the residents of Cooleemee to this day.

A celebration of the last 60 years will take place in the Cooleemee library on Friday, Sept. 24 at 3 p.m. If you have any old photos or other artifact like an old library card, call 753-6049.