In September 1961 Catharine Paschal, a member of the Olivia Raney Library Board, procured $3,000 in federal funds from the State Library to establish a public library in Wake Forest. This first grant was to be used for the librarian's salary, books and furnishings. The Wake Woman's Club also campaigned door to door to raise additional funds for the establishment of a library. The Wake Forest Public Library's first location was in the old W.W. Holding Company office and was donated by the Holding family for a public library. The book shelves were built by the Agriculture students at Wake Forest High School. The grand opening of the library was on November 15, 1961, and the first librarian was Helen Sistrunk. The library was open 15 hours a week. The collection included 1,000 books, which had been donated by citizens. During the first month of operation, the library issued 81 cards and circulated 111 books. Cards for children were 25 cents and for adults were 50 cents. The out-of-county fee was $1. From the beginning this library had a relationship with the Olivia Raney Library. Many of the books made available were on loan to the Wake Forest Public Library from the Olivia Raney Library.
In 1973 the Wake Forest Library relocated to the old Central Carolina Bank building at 123 S. White Street. The Library remained in this building until October 1996. Funds from a County bond referendum was used to build a new 5,000-square-foot facility on Holding Avenue. Henry Miller, an original Library Board member, left $53,000 to the Wake Forest Public Library in his will. This money was used to assist with the building of the new library. On November 17, 1996, the Wake Forest Library opened in its new location at 400 E. Holding Ave. with a collection of 45,000 volumes.
Past managers of the Wake Forest Public Library have included: Helen Sistrunk, Mrs. Kent Barbee, Pearl Ray, Irene Holding, Joyce Board, Sandra Hope, Ann Burlingame and Christina Holmes. The current manager is Yvonne Allen.
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