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Proctorville Library, Proctorville, NC, March 1945. General Negative Collection, North Carolina State Archives.


Photograph was taken by Marie McRae Ecklar (deceased), former resident of Proctorville. A copy of the photo was donated to the North Carolina State Archives by Patterson Tony Graham via Toby Graham and came to the donor through Ms. EcKlar’s niece, Sarah McRae Martin, also a former resident of Proctorville and currently of Troy, NC.


The library structure was originally a hot dog stand operated by Harry Lewis.

Lewis’s grandfather, W.R. Surles, owned the land and structure, which he provided for use as a library in the late 1930s. On account of the small size of the structure, only one person (or two if small children) could use the library at a time. Children would wait in line for their turn in the library.


According to an article in the Dec. 23, 1939, issue of The State Magazine, the citizens of Proctorville started up the library with donations from the community, initially acquiring a collection of 400 books. The author contends that “Proctorville is the smallest town in the United States which possesses a full time public librarian, which it does with the aid of the P.W.A.” The P.W.A. (Public Works Administration? or possibly the author of the magazine article meant WPA?) librarian’s name was Evelyn Singletary Clyburn. The P.W.A. (or possibly WPA?) ceased to provide support circa 1941, and since that time the library has been maintained and operated by volunteers from the Proctorville Book Club.


A more permanent brick structure replaced the former hot dog stand during the 1950s. This current library building is named the “W.R. Surles Memorial Library,” as Surles bequeathed money to build the structure. It's open on Thursday afternoons.


Sources: Patterson Tony Graham of Harrisonburg, Va., former Proctorville resident; Sarah McRae Martin


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Taken on March 24, 2008