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Branch Development

1963 saw the emergence of the first branch library in St. Albans, where local citizens had started a volunteer library in 1952. Through a tremendous local fund-raising effort and a federal Library Services and Construction Act grant, a new building was built in 1963 and turned over to the Kanawha County Public Library to operate. A second floor was added in 1971, again due to local fund-raising efforts.

No other branch libraries developed until the mid-1970's, when a combination of increased federal dollars and state money earmarked for library construction resulted in a flurry of activity. Dunbar was, like St. Albans, a situation where there had first been a community library (established in 1965). Through local fund-raising efforts and grants of federal money Dunbar was able to build a new, modern library building and in 1977 turned it over to the Kanawha County Public Library to operate.

In most other areas of the county, groups of interested citizens organized into library boards - particularly in areas of heavy Bookmobile use. These local boards raised funds and applied to the West Virginia Library Commission for federal and state grants for library construction. Although these local boards worked in cooperation with the Kanawha County Public Library, the Kanawha County Public Library never had any overall plan for the development of branch libraries. As a result of these local efforts the following branches were built and turned over to the Kanawha County Public Library to operate: Cross Lanes - 1976; Elk Valley - 1977; Sissonville - 1979; and Marmet - 1980.

In Glasgow, thanks to federal revenue sharing, a large, modern town hall was built in 1976. The town approached the Kanawha County Public Library about using some extra space in the new building for a library, and consequently branch service began in Glasgow in 1976. The Clendenin branch was initially an affiliate library (having some, but not all of the benefits of a full branch), but became a full branch in 1988 after certain conditions were met.

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