The first public library in Honey Grove opened its doors on April 27, 1962. Started by Mrs. Bertha Voyer as a Hall-Voyer Foundation project, it opened in the building which had originally been the Planters National Bank, then Evans Grocery. Mr. R. F. Voyer furnished the building for the library as a temporary location until the present location at 500 N. Sixth Street could be renovated.
Many citizens donated books that enabled the library to get off to a good start. The first card holder was Denny Whitley.
Two meetings held in June, 1962, at the Foundation office led to the formation of the first library council. Attending those meetings were Mrs. H. L. Ballew, Mrs. Wash Underwood, Mrs. Harry Dial, Mrs. Bertha Voyer, and Mr. R. F. Voyer. It was agreed that the council should consist of seven members with staggered terms.
Members of the first council were Mrs. H. L. Ballew, Chairman, Mr. J. V. Clayton, Mrs. Harry Dial, Mrs. Kenneth Rowton, Mrs. Martha Stroup, and Miss Katherine Trout. Mrs. Voyer served as the librarian. These members formulated plans and policies for the library and devoted many hours of service to the project.
The library, known then as the Honey Grove Memorial Library, moved into the new spacious David Graham Hall Foundation Civic Center in July 1963. In 1973, there were 2,744 volumes. Currently in 2003 there are around 18,000 items. There are currently about 1,800 patrons. Circulation in 2002 was 23,700.
Expenses for books and supplies in 1963 were just over $300. Expenses for 2002 for books, audiovisual materials, magazines, and microfilm were $6,844. Total library expenditures for the library last year were $70,374. This amount is funded primarily by the Hall-Voyer Foundation. The City of Honey Grove contributes $2,500 annually, and there is income from memorials, donations, fines, etc.
Mrs. T. G. Lane served as assistant librarian from 1964 to 1973. Others serving as librarian were Evelyn Wise and Mary Fowler, the current library director. Mrs. Betsy Fry devoted an entire summer to the cataloging of books.
From 1974 to 1984, Paris Junior College, who at that time was administering the David Graham Hall Trust, ran the library. Mrs. Bertha Voyer continued on during that time as the librarian. It was during that time that the college changed the name of the library to the Bertha Voyer Memorial Library, to honor its founder and long-time volunteer librarian. The Foundation, whose name had been the David Graham Hall Foundation, changed its name to the Hall-Voyer Foundation in 1984. The foundation resumed control of the library that same year.
The library became a member of the Northeast Texas Library System in 1985, enabling it to expand its services to the community. Also, in 1985, the City of Honey Grove started contributing $2,500 annually to the library operation. That amount is the same today.
Bertha Voyer died in 1985 and Mary Fowler was promoted to librarian. Present employees are Mrs. Fowler, Deidra Jackson and April Stanford. All are part-time employees.
When the foundation started operating the library again, a Friends of the Bertha Voyer Memorial Library organization was created in place of the advisory council. The Friends were incorporated in 1985 and hold an Internal Revenue Service determination as a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization. The original board of the Friends was composed of Daigone Garner, Betsy Fry, Pat Jackson, Dixie Black, Beverly Felts, H. L. Milton, Emery Banker, Mary A. Thurman, Evelyn Wise, and Mary Wells.
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