Ramseur Public Library – Then and Now (1936-2020)

by Sandy Jarrell

The Ramseur Book Club had a vision to see a public library in Ramseur. A committee was formed with the name Ramseur Public Library being chosen for the town’s library.  It was especially hard for the committee to collect funds during the depression.  Sacrifices were made as donations of books, material and labor were offered. The Library Association was formed, the constitution was written, and advisory board members were chosen.  A room in the Carter Mercantile was donated. Opening Day ceremonies were held on Nov.10, 1936. The library was manned by volunteers and opened with 340 books.  Mrs. Ida West and later Miss Edith Siler were employed as librarians.  The library was open a few hours a day. Miss Hattie Burgess was the first librarian paid by the Association and served as librarian from 1941-1956.   She and people like her set the tone and raised a standard for the library.  Other librarians to date have been Ruth Moffitt, Anna Leonard, Ruth Newell, Crandall Ellison, Stacey Curtis, Sandra Livingston and Sandy Jarrell.  In 1951, the library was moved to a building that was once Columbia Manufacturing’s main office. 

In July 1957, Ramseur passed a library ordinance, appointed the first Library Board of Trustees and appropriated funding to operate the library. As time passed space was needed.  A new building seemed impossible. Mr. M.E. Johnson provided a sum of $50,000 in his will to construct a library as a memorial to his wife. On January 7, 1962 the Blanche C. Johnson Memorial building was dedicated and opened its doors to the public on January 8, 1962. The building has seen upgrades and many advances as time has passed. With the continued funding by the town, the Library Board of Trustees and with the help of the Randolph County Public Library and that long ago vision the Ramseur Public Library exists today. It is a welcoming place where people of all ages can read, access the Internet, and enjoy programming offered by staff. It serves as beacon in the community and is a legacy to all the people who worked so diligently to bring the world to Ramseur through reading.

Ramseur Public Library started with a vision. It exists today because of that vision. COVID has not squelched that vision. Storytimes are virtual and books are being distributed curbside but yet library services continue. Today the library has 6,791 registered users with a collection that numbers 33,295.

The first Librarian, Hattie Burgess, with the President of the Library Board of Trustees – Mr. Allen H. Leonard

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