The main branch of the Sullivan County Public Library is located in Blountville, Tennessee at 1655 Blountville Blvd. It has a strong history of serving the county’s population with reading and reference material, as well as area historical and genealogical material. In 1946 Mrs. Sam Eanes chaired the Citizens Library Movement in order to establish a library in Sullivan County. Due to the group’s efforts and funding provided by the County Court, the Sullivan County Library opened in one room of the Sullivan County Courthouse on January 2, 1947 with a collection of 500 books. It was open to the public three days a week. By 1949, the Sullivan County Library, Watauga Regional Library and the Kingsport Public Library worked together to circulate books to 50 book stations via a Watauga Regional bookmobile. The book stations were located in stores, schools, private homes, a church and even a bus station throughout the county.
In 1949 the library was moved to the Mutual Insurance building. Then in 1950 it occupied three rooms in the old Blountville Elementary School building on Franklin Street. The library next moved in 1952 into the Anderson Town House, a log house built in 1792. In 1973 the library relocated once again into a store front location on Main Street. Seven years later with funding from the federal government, the state of Tennessee, the county commissioners, the county court and donations raised by the Sullivan County Friends of the Library, director Kay Hamrick saw her vision come to life with a new building located on Blountville Boulevard next to the Blountville Middle School and Elementary Schools. The new library opened its doors to the public on January 27, 1992.
The Sullivan County Library System has grown from a small space in the courthouse with 500 books to five branches throughout the county with a collection of approximately 120,000 items. The library continues to grow in services to the community, offering a wide variety of materials in book form, compact disc, and MP3 players. A wide variety of DVD’s are available. The library provides public internet access, as well as wireless connectivity so that patrons can use laptop computers in all of the branches. The library’s website allows patrons to request items online and provides a wide range of databases. The library system also offers free beginning computer classes and assistance with writing resumes.
The library has had four directors since its beginning. Mrs. Mattie Parris was the first director, followed by Mrs. Roberta Slagle and Mrs. Kay Hamrick. The current director is Mrs. Theresa McMahan. The current Branch Manager is Mrs. Margeret Elsea.
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