HISTORY AND MISSION
It is the mission of the Pickens County Cooperative Library (PCCL) to support each member library in providing quality library services to the residents of Pickens County. An added emphasis is placed on providing outreach programming for residents who may not be readily accessible to library service. Additionally, the PCCL will develop and maintain a cooperative relationship with local schools and educational facilities, as well as community groups and agencies.
The first organizational meeting for a county-wide library system was held on November 7, 1980. Present were Betty Junkin, Hazel Mullenix, Julie Curry, Ruth Holliman, Sarah Cowart and Ethelda Potts.
The system library governing board shall include a representative from each library board (4 representatives) and three (3) representatives appointed by the County Commission. The plan of service will be jointly developed with the county library coordinator and individual libraries.
The first official meeting of the newly-established System Library was held on February 25, 1981 in the board room of the Pickens County Hospital. Present were Martha Leatherwood, Carrollton; Virginia Stabler, Aliceville; Eleanor Pearson, Benevola; Dianne McCool, Zion; Ruth Holliman, Gordo; and Mary Anne Dill, Pine Grove. Sarah Cowart of Reform was not able to attend. Also present were Aliceville librarians Ethelda Potts and Julie Curry, Chairman of the Carrollton Library Board. Ruth Holliman presided at the meeting.
In subsequent meetings, it was determined that the County Commission would receive and administer any funds obtained through the state. The Selection Committee proposed Karen Wilkins of Aliceville as the first County Library Coordinator.
Rhonda Lane replaced out-going Coordinator Karen Wilkins after her brief time.
The operating budget for the Cooperative Library for 1981 was $33,506 which included $11,300 from the County Commission, $14,400 from an LSCA grant and 3 quarters of State Aid amounting to $7,806.
Programs of emphasis for the County Coordinator included improving minimal literacy and outreach programs such as Books By Mail.
A replacement for Coordinator Rhonda Lane is underway as of August, 1983.
In October, 1983 Linda Classen joined the Cooperative Library staff until she could complete her Library Degree and be officially hired as Coordinator.
In August, 1984 Linda Classen announced her qualification for full time employment, which was agreed upon by the Board.
Another event of note in 1984 was that State Aid was increased from 50 cents per capita to 85 cents.
A five-year long range plan was proposed, reviewed, and accepted. Richard LeCroy, CPA, was employed to perform the 1984 audit. Bernard Gibson was welcomed as a new Cooperative Board member. A microfiche reader was provided by APLS. Plans were discussed to initiate a video cassette collection in the county.
Eleanor Pearson resigned and Mrs. Johnny Johnston was recommended to the Commission to replace her as a member-at-large.
In 1987, the Books By Mail program is struggling due to postage increases. Two new Board Members are welcomed - Frances Carpenter and Bob Gafford. Johnny Johnson agreed to serve as Secretary. Due to increasing expenses, it was decided to request $18,000 from the County Commission for operations. Linda Classen resigns as Coordinator and Lori Smith is employed part-time until she can complete her MLS degree.
Johnnie Johnson resigns from board and is replaced by Elma Emerson. A new project was begun by Lori Smith, updating reference collections at each library in the system. The County Library supported this project by agreeing to fund $1500 per library for this project, which was later amended to $1,650 per library. At the recommendation of APLS, the Coordinator is insured with a $10,000 bond.
In 1989 Lori Smith began work full-time on January 3. State Aid increased from 85 cents per capita to $1.12. Frances Carpenter was elected Secretary by acclamation. The Head Start reading program was approved. A grant to obtain a copy machine and microfilm reader has been applied and received. Mr. Blane Dessy, APLS director, addresses the board regarding new standards proposals.
In 1990 two LSCA Title I grants were applied for by Coordinator Lori Smith - a Special Outreach Grant for serving local prisoners and one for serving the mentally handicapped. Both were funded in full.
1991 - Library asked for increase from county to $16,674.
1992 - Lori Smith submits LSCA Title VI grant proposal in the amount of $25,000, and it is approved. Project READ is then established with Allen Gamel as Literacy Coordinator. APLS will no longer provide audit services and the library must provide this. County-wide youth services project begins with the funding of an LSCA grant submitted by Lori Smith in the amount of $25,000.
1993 - Lori Smith is replaced by Susan Wolfe as County Coordinator. A grant for $50,000 is received to place computers in all libraries and to put all book records in MARC format into a circulation database. This will eventually enable us to phase out the card catalog and will simplify patron and circulation records. County Library relocates to Post Office Building.
1994 - Automation of library records continues. Grants are received for preservation of historical records for the county which will assist library patrons with history and genealogy research.
1996 - Technology grant will provide new computers and internet access to all libraries. Project READ funding ceases from the U.S. Dept. of Education. Allen Gamel continues to operate the project on a voluntary basis..
1997 - The University of Alabama donated a new Dell Computer to the County Library and provides Internet Access and training to Director. Gates Foundation will provide computers with Internet access to all Alabama Libraries.
1998 - Data input of all collections to Union Catalog is complete. Data will be sent to APLS so that we can become full participants in AliCat, the Alabama Library Catalog. Allen Gamel resigns as Project READ director. Funds for Project Read are received from ARC. Betty Slowe becomes new Director. Books for Babies is an added component of Project READ. $1,000 grant awarded for reference materials. A system-wide technology plan was prepared and will cover all libraries in the system. Carol McKenzie and Mack Harper's terms as Board Members have been extended. Clara McNeal replaces Jacqueline Flowers on the Board.
1999 - County Library moves their office from the Post Office building to the Old Courthouse Building. Mary Fuseyamore of Pickensville continues to accept used books to establish a deposit library at the Community Center.
2000 - Project READ continues to do well under the leadership of Betty Slowe. Open House was held on May 9th in the new quarters in the Courthouse Building. Board members assisted with refreshments and flower arrangements and helped serve as host and hostesses. Alabama Virtual Library was made available to Patrons. Betty Slowe resigns as Project READ Director and Mary Fuseyamore began as new Director. Library receives large shipment of free materials for Project READ from Fisher Price, thanks to Betty Slowe.
2001 - Pro-ration is in effect, reducing State Aid by 6.2%. The Library has sufficient reserves to maintain operations, however. Interlibrary loans are now performed online, allowing for faster receipt of borrowed materials.
2002 - Frances Carpenter resigns as Board Secretary and is replaced by Carol McKinzey, who graciously accepted the position.
2003 - ARC Grant funds are obtained for Project Read. Permission is given by Laubach to launch the video tape campaign. Doug Sanders will do the videotaping of Mary Fuseyamore teaching the lessons.
2004 - New computers will be installed in all libraries except Carrollton as a result of a system-wide Technology grant. Alabama Black Belt Area Library Consortium completes first project - Dial A Story. Cybersitter filtering software installed to comply with E-Rate. Frances Carpenter and Tane Hankins agreed to serve another term on the Board. Clara McNeal's term is expired and Carrollton needs to designate a replacement.
2005 - Project READ videotapes are completed and distributed to all libraries for in-home use.
2006 - 2007
A federal grant is received to renovate a portion of the old courthouse; therefore, PCCL must abbreviate services for a period of several months. Longtime Library Coordinator Susan Wolfe retires in January 2007. She is replaced by Lori Smith, former Library Coordinator.
Lori Smith submits and receives funding for an LSTA grant to keep three libraries open during evening hours. PCCL Board of Trustees agrees to fund the formation of a website for the library system. In July 2007, Board of Trustees and Lori Smith host County Commissioners at an appreciation luncheon.
2010 - Lori Smith resigns. Melanie Wood named County Coordinator