MAN — The Buffalo Creek Memorial is celebrating 40 years of service. Until this first “instant”library in the state opened in 1973, Man area residents only had access to books via bookmobile every three weeks.
The dream of bringing a library to the community began in 1957, when Mrs. T.L. Williams and mrs. James E. Hensley, Mrs. George Lohn, Mrs. Lee Cuni and others began to write the West Virginia Library Commission concerning the need for a library in the Man area.
A plan to provide library services to towns with at least 2,000 residents without library facilities was developed by director of the WestVirginia Library Commission Frederick Glazer, and Man was slated to be one of two constructed in the state.
Civic organizations pulled together and the State Jaycees contributed 8,000 toward the purchase of land. The facility constructed was a one-room, octagonal structure equipped with air conditioning, carpet, and fixed shelving lining the walls and some moveable shelving. The facility could seat 24 and hold 6,000 books.
To honor the community dedication, effort, and funding for the library, it was named the Buffalo Creek Memorial Library. The dedication was held on the eve of the first anniversary of the Buffalo Creek Disaster, which claimed 125 lives after a coal slurry impoundment failed.
Over the past two years, the library has been expanded and completely remodeled. Besides the addition and reorganization of space, a new circulation desk and new children’s room, the plumbing, restrooms and electrical wiring have been changed and new carpet installed throughout the facility.
The library has become the site for story hours, memorials, classes, summer reading programs and the starting point for Christmas carolers, groups walking for exercise through South Man and the annual Man on the Move walk.
Librarian Liz Tackett participates in many agency and organization activities, reaching out to the community.
“I feel I should try to help the community and be there to help in any way I can,” said Tackett, “I have my dream job.”