The Full Story
The Lawrence County Public Library was founded in February 1961 as the Moulton Library when the Town of Moulton created a public library board. Area residents had long wanted to improve the quality of life of area residents by providing public library services. With the assistance of the Alabama Public Library Service and the Wheeler Basin Regional Library in Decatur, a small library was created in the Alexander Building in downtown Moulton. Mrs. Thelma Pritchett was the first librarian at a salary of $50 per month, paid by the Town. In May 1961, the library was relocated to the Courthouse Annex on the square in downtown Moulton, and in October 1963 it was moved to the Courthouse basement. Mrs. Pritchett resigned in October 1963 and Allie Harris became the second librarian.
In the early 1970s, desiring to build a new library facility, Moulton residents and others persuaded the county government to take on responsibility for public library services. A county board was created by the Lawrence Count y Commission and the municipal board dissolved. The Champion Paper Corporation (now International Paper) stepped up to the plate and agreed to pay for construction of the first Lawrence County Library building on College Street in Moulton on land provided by the Lawrence County Board of Education. This new library facility was begun in 1973 and opened its doors to the public on February 11, 1974. It was designed to provide a collection of 20,000 items, a staff of three, a public meeting room, and other amenities.
Mrs. Jane Day was later selected as Library Director, reporting to the Wheeler Basin Regional Library in Decatur. In the 1970s, Wheeler Basin provided bookmobile service to rural Lawrence County residents. This service would continue until costs forced WBRL to cancel this service in the early 1980s. In the 1980s, a public library in the Town of Courtland was developed by Wheeler Basin. In 1984, the Friends of the Lawrence County Library was created to provide financial and advocacy support for the Library.
Technology was implemented at LCPL in 1968 with the addition of the first stereo system, a gift of the Moulton Jaycees (longtime library supporters). The 1973 building was designed to accommodate this phonographic record stereo and a telephone. In the early 1990s with the introduction of an automated library system, LCPL was connected to other Wheeler Basin libraries, and to the State of Alabama, to share library materials. Only minor alterations were made to wiring and telecommunications systems to accommodate these systems. To accommodate growth of collections, the public meeting room was closed and turned into a children's room in 2004.
With declining support from the Wheeler Basin Regional Library through the years, increasing amounts of information available through the Internet and other resources, increasing numbers of trained professional librarians in the state and with the decreasing costs of information delivery, the Lawrence County Library Board began looking at other options for providing quality services to Lawrence County residents. In 2003, the Lawrence County Board decided to follow the Athens-Limestone County Public Library in withdrawing from membership in the Wheeler Basin Regional Library. Mrs. Miranda Ball, a Lawrence County native, was selected as the county's first professional library director. She was replaced with Mrs. Regina D. Anderton as Director in 2009. Anderton was replaced with Mr. Rex Bain in 2013.
In 2010, the Lawrence County Public Library Board had to make a difficult decision. Due to the ongoing recession, Lawrence County funding to the library decreased from $43,000 in 2009 to $32,000 in 2010. After a cost analysis, the Board and library administration made the difficult decision of ceasing hours on Saturday. The costs associated with being open for four hours per Saturday was approximately $10,000 annually. Based on an average door count of 2 patrons per Saturday, it was decided the most cost-effective means to decrease the budget to match the decreased funding was to end Saturday hours.
In 2016, the library was a recipient of a $50,000 LSTA technology grant, which allowed the library to update all computer systems, network wiring, and add a 3D Printer.
In 2019, the Public Library Division (PLD) of the Alabama Library Association (ALLA) awarded the Bronze Level Standard Award to the Lawrence County Public Library. Alabama Standards Achievement Awards recognize superior planning and levels of excellence attained by exceptional public libraries. In Alabama, the Gold Level Standard Award is the highest level of achievement, followed closely by Silver Level and Bronze Level. Libraries are evaluated in a number of categories, including facility, hours of operation, administration and governance, planning, budget, staffing and employee benefits, collection, promotion and partnering, services and technology.
In 2022, the library was a recipient of a $45,000 LSTA technology grant, which allowed the library to convert the collection to an RFID system to streamline the circulation process, reduce inventory time, and add an RFID gate to monitor when items left the building that was not properly checked out. The gate also added the capability of monitoring traffic flow into the building to determine the busiest times. To prepare the library collection for the RFID conversion process, the library undertook a weeding project that removed approximately 8,000 items from the collection due to the lack of circulation.
In 2023, as the collection was downsized the previous year for the RFID project, the library relocated the children’s collection to convert the space into a multi-purpose programming room.
The LCPL currently holds a collection of 26,669 physical items, provides public access computers, participates with the Camellia Net eBook consortium powered by OverDrive, and is visited by over 24,000 persons annually.
The mission of the Lawrence County Public Library is to provide and service the educational, informational, and recreational need of the residents of our legal service area and those persons outside our legal service area who qualify for library usage.
The Lawrence County Public Library strives to be the welcoming heart of our community where all come to learn, discover, create, and connect.