Reform Public Library
HISTORY AND MISSION
After one year of much planning and cooperation, the Reform Public Library became a reality on Sunday, May 23, 1971, when the official opening was held. An informal tea was given in the library from 3:00 to 5:00 in order that the community may admire their efforts to prove that “Reading is for Everybody”.
Materials and funds, as well as labor, have been donated by many individuals to make the local project a success. The initial planning was done by a Library Committee headed by Mr. Allen Layson, Chairman, Mrs. J. P. Crocker, Mrs. W. S. Cowart, Mrs. Ernest Dover, and Mr. Robert Inniss. Mayor John Wade and town council gave their enthusiastic support. Mr. Roth Hook was also very supportive in allowing the purchase of property that he owned.
The Alabama Public Library Service supplied an initial collection of books. A total of 2200 books were available for patrons on opening day. Mrs. J. P. Mullins served as Librarian. The first summer reading program was a great success and has continued to this day.
In1973, the property on which the library was located was sold to Larry Handley for the building of Reform Pharmacy. Again, the search began for a new location. On or about March 1, 1973, the library was moved to the City Hall. Mrs. J. P. Mullins continued to serve as Librarian, conducting summer reading programs, tours of the library, and adding new books and patrons.
After eight years of faithful service, Mrs. Mullins retired in mid 1979. At this point Mrs. Elois Pratt became the Librarian and continued the programming, adding new books and new patrons. The growth prompted another move. A building that belonged to the Corps of Engineers was purchased. A slight problem stood in the way of progress. The building had to be cut in two and placed on its new location. New shelves were built and books were moved, and all the necessities were put into place for an efficient working library. By mid September 1984, the library was ready for service. Mrs. Virginia Barton became the new Librarian. Open house and dedication was held on January 27, 1985. IN 1987, Mrs. Barton resigned as Librarian.
At this point, Mrs. Joyce Moore became the new Librarian and progress continued, adding books, patrons, new programs and services to the library. Mrs. Moore faithfully served the library for seven years, retiring in 1994.
Virginia Barton resumed the Librarian position that she had previously held. She continued to work hard for the library, and it continued to grow, becoming too large for its location. Again, the search was on for a new location.
On October 4, 1999, the City of Reform, under the leadership of Mayor Pat Wheat, purchased the old West Alabama Bank building, located at 302 1st Street South. Renovations began to turn the old bank into a functioning library. In honor of the late Mr. John Wade, who was the founder of the bank, the building soon became known as the John L. Wade Center, Reform Public Library.
Unfortunately, in 2007, Mrs. Virginia Barton resigned her position after many years of service and many accomplishments. In May 2007, Mr. Curtis Wheat was hired as the new Library Director.
The library continues to be located in the old bank building, and continues to add services, materials, and patrons. The library has grown to more than 14,000 books and serves over 2000 patrons.
THANK YOU, MRS. SARAH COWART.
“You believed in a dream to make it a reality for all of us.”