History of the Library

The history of the library begins in 1925, when the Buckhannon Lions Club started a lending library. The collection was originally housed in the Upshur Building on West Main Street, but quickly outgrew the space and relocated to the basement of the Upshur County Court House.  By the mid-late 1930’s, it was clear that a larger space would be required.

The city of Buckhannon used money from Mrs. Gibson and additional money from the Works Progress Administration to construct the existing structure at the corner of East Main and Sedgwick Streets. An original architectural drawing of the building is on display in the conference room. The structure was opened to the public on October 20, 1942.

Mrs. Mary Augusta Gibson’s will presented the city of Buckhannon with the chance to provide that space in 1939.

“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

Since 1942, the Charles W. Gibson Public has operated at its current location. 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.

Ever wonder what this is?

This is a replica of a tall, narrow medieval inn, namely the Tabard Inn in Southwark, London. This inn is the starting point for Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

Local tradition says this shelf goes back to 1898 when it was maintained as a branch of the Tabard Inn Rental Library Service operated by Miss Lizzie Arnold in her dry goods store.