Meet the Staff
Dea Clayton – Library Director
Mary Beth Mowen – Head Librarian/Interlibrary Loan Librarian
Beth Allee – Library Clerk
Andrea Vance – Collection Development
Halea Bristow – Children’s Programmer
Jill Gardner – Cataloger
Library Board of Trustees
Mary Ridgel – President
Sheila Golden – Secretary
Mary Kaye Staggers
The Keyser Public Library began as a WPA (Works Progress Administration) in 1937. It was located in the Old Law Building and was sponsored by a library committee whose chairman was Mrs. Edith K. Gibson.
When the WPA ceased operations in 1941, the Mineral County School Board offered a room in the basement of one of the Keyser grade school buildings for library use. This library was open three half days a week and was supported entirely by donations from service clubs and with books given as gifts, mainly used.
In 1949, Mrs. Gibson died and the librarian Mrs. C. L. Gleeson moved to Chicago. The Business and Professional Women’s Club called a meeting of all interested local organizations to reactivate the Keyser Public Library. At this meeting, a Constitution Committee was appointed and a slate of officers was elected.
In 1950, the Mineral County Court and the Keyser City Council were asked by the Library Board to set some permanent financial aid for the library. Six hundred ($600) per year was voted by the County Court, the amount of the librarian’s salary; $150 a year was pledged by the City Council. The name was now changed to the Keyser-Mineral County Public Library.
The CUF (County United Fund) placed the library in its annual budget in 1957 for $2,300 a year, enabling the library to remain open Monday through Friday afternoons and to purchase some new books and supplies.
1960 found the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Keyser preparing to occupy a new building and, after many conferences between Back Directors and Library Board members, the gift of the old bank buildng over a ten-year period to the community was decided upon.
The West Virginia Library Commission agreed to furnish a bookmobile, 20,000 books, and pay a trained librarian’s salary if adequate local support could be arranged.
In the spring of 1962, the Mineral County Court placed $6,666.66 in its budget for fiscal 1962 for library support and the Keyser City Council passed a bond levy for 1962-65, which would guarantee $3,333.33 per year for library maintenance.
The Keyser-Mineral County Public Library moved to the bank building August 29, 1962, and opened for service in October.
In 1963, the library began operating a bookmobile, which provided service to rural areas and schools in Grant and Hardy counties as well as Mineral. This was later expanded to include Hampshire county. These counties contracted with the Keyser-Mineral County Library Board for such service on a yearly basis. This service continued until 1975 when it was terminated due to rising costs of operation.
The following year, a Books-by-Mail Service was established as a replacement.
The library now has around 50,000 books and operates with funds received from the West Virginia Library Commission, the Mineral County Court, and the Keyser City Council. As Regional Library for an area consisting of Mineral, Grant, Hardy, Hampshire, and Pendleton counties, it is authorized to distribute the grant-in-aid money received from the Library Commission on a per capita basis.
The Keyser-Mineral County Public Library is a rapidly growing part of community and regional life.
–Information from Karen Hiser, Regional Librarian, who revised the Article From Notes of Mrs. Mary Handlan, Regional Librarian, 1962-1976, which was placed in the Mineral County, West Virginia Family Traits, Tracks and Trails.