The Fort Ashby Public Library began in 1974 when the Keyser-Mineral
County Library loaned the community a bookmobile that was no longer in
service. Volunteers from the Lions and Lioness clubs, headed by Joe
Gross operated it. From there the library moved into one room of the
Lions community center (the first schoolhouse in the town - renovated by
the Lions). Jimmie Owings became the first paid librarian, working three
days a week.
In 1984 construction started on an "instant"
library building. This was done with county, state and federal funds.
Grand opening was May 19, 1985. Jimmie Owings left in February 1986.
Jane Howser and Mabel Wagoner were hired to share the position. Mabel
left in 1987 to work elsewhere. Anne Hyde began at this time as
substitute. In 1989, the library started operating 37 hours per week.
Anne was hired under Title V program assistant librarian. She has since
been hired by the library to continue in this position. In 2004, Jane
Howser retired from her position as branch manager and Cindy Shanholtz
was hired to take her place. In 2011 Krista Price was hired in the
position of part-time librarian. In July 2014, Cindy Shanholtz
retired from her position as branch manager and April DeWitt was hired
to take her place. April, Anne, and Krista are the current
Early in 1996 the "Friends" of the library, having saved a little money,
decided to begin an expansion project. Thinking they would add one room
at a time. Local contractor, Brad Pyles, told the Friends they probably
had enough money for materials for both rooms, but not labor. He agreed
to be volunteer contractor to oversee the expansion. Jane Howser, Carol
Stawicki and Mr. Pyles met with the Lions Club who volunteered labor for
the project. The Lions and Lioness Club in Fort Ashby have always
supported the library with funds for storytime and summer reading
program as well as helping with other needs. A children's room and a
reference room were added and dedicated May 17, 1997. This doubled the
size of the existing building. The project turned out to be a true
community effort. Everything from backhoe, block laying, electrical to
painting, etc. was donated by members of the community, many of whom
were not members of the Lions Club.
It has been inconceivable by
many as to how this project, including shelving and paving of the
parking lot was accomplished with less than $17,000. We are proud of our
community and library. Last year we were able to complete the repair and
replacement project on the roof. Our Friends of the library and our
patrons have once again done a phenomenal job in helping us raise the
needed funds for that endeavor. Our goal is to keep growing and
improving this library so it stays in tip-top shape and we can continue
to provide the best possible services and resources to our patrons
and community. Stop in and visit us anytime, we are always happy to see