Highlights of Charles W. Gibson History
Buckhannon’s Public Library history begins in 1925. A project first established by the Buckhannon Lions Club, the collection was housed in the Upshur Building on West Main Street- then when the collection grew too large, relocated to the basement of the Upshur County Courthouse. The library operated from there until 1942 when the current building was constructed. The funds that kickstarted the project came from Mary Augusta Gibson as per her will, which stated the following:
“I do hereby devise and bequeath to the city of Buckhannon, a municipal corporation, of Buckhannon, West Virginia, the sum of $10,000 for the special and specific purpose of purchasing, erecting, or constructing a municipal or city library building…and to be named ‘Charles W. Gibson Library’…”Mary A. Gibson’s Will
In addition to the 10,000 dollars, Mrs. Gibson also gave the remainder of her estate to the city, with the income thereafter to be used for the upkeep and maintenance of the library. Displayed in the circulation area of the building is a photo of Charles Gibson, but we must not forget the very important part his wife played in the establishment of this building. Additionally, the funds for the labor came from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the infrastructure program created during the Great Depression by President Roosevelt.
Today, Charles W. Gibson Public Library is maintained in the same building with much of the original architecture and fixtures. Preservation of the building continues to be one of the organization’s major goals, while still keeping in mind ways to expand the services provided. Currently, funds for the library come from the City of Buckhannon Levy, West Virginia Library Commission, the Lowell Armstrong Trust and individual contributions.