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Gaston County Public Library History


          5 April 1900

  • Gastonia established a traveling library station with the H. Parmelee Library Company of Chicago. In a cooperative arrangement, Gastonia would exchange books with surrounding towns every three months allowing Gastonia members access to a new library on a rotating basis. Dr. D. E. McConnell was made librarian of the library station located at his office. The collection consisted of fifty books and most of the selection was general literature such as the popular new book To Have and To Hold by Mary Johnston. (GGZ 22 Mar 1900, p.3) (GGZ 5 April 1900, p.3)(GGZ 12 April 1900, p.2)



  • Dr. D. E. McConnell and Dr. J. C. Galloway began the solicitation of funds for a public library. John F. Love possibly gave the first contribution, which amounted to $100, as well as assisted the YMCA with financially securing the downtown property. (GGZ 20 April 1969)


          March 1904

  • Local ministers held conference about creation of public library. (GGZ, 10 Oct 1940) (GGZ, 17 Oct. 1950, p 4F)


          7 April 1904

  • A group of 25 to 30 people met in the parlor of the Falls House and heard the Rev. W. H. Reddish preach a sermon about the need for a library. (GGZ, 20 April 1969; "Library Association Formed" GGZ, 8 April 1904, p.3) Mayor George W. Wilson was chairman of the meeting and Prof. Joseph H. Separk, secretary. The Gastonia Library Association was initially created with charter members formed from those present. Committee members responsible with creating a permanent organization included the following appointed members:

Rules: G. W. Wilson, Rev. W. H. Reddish, Mrs. Rose Pritchard.

Location: S. A. Robinson, W. E. Kindley, C. J. Gresham.

Membership: J. W. Kirkpatrick, L. L. Harden, Dr. D. E. McConnell, Miss Pansy

Trawich, Miss Little, and Mrs. Pritchard. (Gaston Co. Public Library 1905-1981

[027.422 CHR N.C.C.]) (Gaston County Historical Bulletin, Vol. 7, No. 2, pg 2)


15 April 1904

  • At this second meeting of the Gastonia Library Association at the Falls House, Dr. D. E. McConnell (after consulting with John F. Love, custodian of the Y.M.C.A.) presented an offer by Y.M.C.A officers which was accepted by the Library Association.
  • The Y.M.C.A. offered the Library Association the use of the Y.M.C.A. hallway above McConnell's office for the new library.
  •  The Y.M.C.A. also offered to "fit the room for occupancy out of Y.M.C.A. funds now on hand" and donate the remainder of $300 for the use of the Library Association.
  • Also, the Y.M.C.A. offered a steady appropriation of $30 per month budgeted for library maintenance from the income of room rentals in the Y.M.C.A. building. The $300 was available from the then inactive men’s club. (GGZ 20 April 1969) (Timely Topics 20 Jul 1954, Vol. 1 No. 12, pub. by The Citizens National Bank) (The Gastonia Gazette,19 April 1904)
  • Regulations were adopted that governed the use of the library. The Gastonia Library Association membership was based on the non-returnable entrance fee of one dollar down payment for the year with an additional ten cents per month. Membership provided access to the subscription-based library. Non-residents could subscribe for a refundable fee of one dollar and fifty cents with an additional fifteen cents a month. A Visitor could pay a refundable fee of two dollars with an additional twenty-five cents a month. Each paid-up patron could take out one book and keep it for two weeks, except in case of encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference books, and periodicals. ("The Library Coming On" The Gastonia Gazette,19 April 1904, p.2) (GGZ, 27 December 1904, page 3) (GGZ, 20 April 1969) (GLRL Today and Tomorrow: a self study,1977 [027.422 G NCC]) (Gastonia and Gaston County, North Carolina 1846 – 1949 by Joseph H. Separk, p.71 [975.677 SEP N.C.C.])

22 April 1904

  • At the third meeting of the Gastonia Library Association, the first nine Board of Directors were elected. For the three-year term ending May 1, 1907: J. D. Moore, J. F. Love, and J. C. Galloway. For the two-year term ending May 1, 1906: G. W. Wilson, W. F. Marshall, and Capt. J. Q. Holland. For the one-year term ending May 1, 1905: J. K. Dixon, S. N. Boyce, and A. G. Mangum. (The Gastonia Gazette, 26 April 1904, p. 1)

29 April 1904

  • After reviewing the Y.M.C.A. account, Mr. John Love determined that $600, instead of $300, of surplus funds were on hand to give the Library Association. (The Gastonia Gazette, 29 April 1904)

October 1904

  • The library book selection committee made first list of about 600 books for the library at an estimated cost of $500. (GGZ 7 Oct 1904, p. 3)(GGZ, 10 Oct 1940) Funds came from Library Association member dues, local clubs, and citizen contributions. (GLRL Today and Tomorrow: a self study,1977 [027.422 G NCC])


5 October 1904

  • The board of directors of the Gastonia Library Association held meeting to plan the furnishing of library and the securing of book donations. (GGZ, 7 Oct 1904, p. 3)


November 1904

  • The library book committee selected and ordered the books for the Gastonia Library. A variety of other materials were also ordered including book cards, borrower’s cards, dating slips, charging tray, and a cabinet case for the card catalogue. (GGZ, 5 May 1905, p. 2)

30 December 1904

  • Opening ceremonies for the new Gastonia Public Library were held the Friday night of December 30, 1904, in the Opera House. Daniel Augustus Tompkins, owner of High Shoals Mills in Gaston County, delivered the address. (GGZ, 27 Dec 1904, p. 2) ("Opening the Library", GGZ, 30 Dec. 1904, p. 3) ("The Library Opened", GGZ, 3 Jan. 1905, p. 2). Informal reception and Open House were held in the new library located in the Y.M.C.A. Hall. (GGZ Friday Dec. 30, 1904, p. 3)
  • The library contained 733 catalogued books, 575 were by purchase and 158 by gift. (GGZ 5 May 1905, p. 2)


31 December 1904

  • Annie Smith Ross, Librarian of Carnegie Library in Charlotte, discussed library methods with Lottie Blake on Saturday morning in the Gastonia Library. (GGZ Tues. Jan. 3, 1905, p. 2)


2 January 1905

  • Gastonia Public Library officially opened Monday in the downtown Y.M.C.A. Hall, which the YMCA offered for use by the library. The hours were 3 to 9 p.m.(GGZ Tues. Jan 3. 1905, p. 2, 3)


  • The first library book checked out was John Fox’s The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come. The book was checked out by Mrs. D. R. Lafar. (GGZ, 3 Jan 1905, p. 3)


  • Charlotte “Lottie” Blake, hired during the summer of 1904, was the first librarian until her retirement in 1946. (GGZ 20 April 1969) (Timely Topics 20 Jul 1954, Vol. 1 No. 12, pub. by The Citizens National Bank) Her salary was $30 a month. (GLRL Today and Tomorrow: a self study,1977 [027.422 G NCC])


  • The new library opened with a total of 700 books. By the end of 1905, the collections had increased to a total of 831 books. (GLRL Today and Tomorrow: a self study,1977 [027.422 G NCC]) Total book loans for that year were 3,740. (Gastonia Centennial, p. 43)


  • The library opened with 47 members paid up. (GGZ, 3 Jan 1905, p. 3)


20 January 1905

  • The Ladies’ Book Club held an oyster and ice cream supper benefit for the library in the Craig and Wilson warehouse room, which was recently occupied by the Williams Furniture Company. (GGZ, 13 Jan 1905, p. 3)


October 1905

  • Giles M. McAden provided funding in his will for the construction of a library and recreational hall for McAdenville citizens. The gift was to be called the R. Y. McAden Memorial Hall in honor of his father, the founder of the town and mills. McAden Mills donated the land for the library and hall. (GGZ 10 October 1940) (Belmont Banner 11 Jan 1967)



  • The R. Y. McAden Memorial Hall was dedicated with its first librarian as Miss Catherine Ray. Miss Elsie Deaton would also serve as a librarian. (GGZ 10 October 1940) (Belmont Banner 11 Jan 1967)

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