In the early 1960s a group of public-spirited citizens, led by Mrs. W. B. Leslie, joined to work with the community and the Virginia State Library to promote public library service in Tazewell County. The Tazewell County Public Library Demonstration Project was founded July 1964 and operated by the State Library in the present day council chambers of the Town of Tazewell to demonstrate for the community the benefits of a public library. At the end of the two-year demonstration, Tazewell County assumed operational responsibility for the library. A five-member Board of Trustees, chaired by Mrs. Leslie, was appointed and included Lester L. Jones, Cora Lee Philpott, T. G. Shufflebarger, and Mary Sue Sult. Work began in 1966 to prepare for construction of a permanent facility. Through the untiring efforts of Dr. W. F. Wadsworth, Mrs. Leslie, numerous other individuals, clubs and civic organizations, and with the support of E. R. Kilgore, James Bailey, and Graham Hendrick of the Board of Supervisors, a library was constructed on the Main Street site of the old Tazewell High School and dedicated 3 December 1967. Edith M. Farley was appointed the system's first librarian, and served from 1964 to her retirement in 1976. She was followed by Clare DeCleene, 1976-1977, Nancy Vassar, Acting Librarian, 1977, and, in 1977, by Laurie Surface (Roberts).
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