A look back at The Black Mountain Public Library’s last 100 years


Photo via Melisa Pressley

The Black Mountain Public Library turns 100 years old this month. In honor of the centennial, we’re taking a look at its history and getting excited about its next 100 years of operation.

Launched in a storage room of the Black Mountain Presbyterian Church in 1922, the library began as 50 books that were received as a donation. By 1923, it outgrew the church space and moved to a permanent spot above City Hall in 1927, where it remained until 1968. Fun fact? The library’s first head librarian was a woman and since then, it’s had 13 female head librarians.

By the 1960s, the library outgrew its space again. In 1963, resident Betty Tyson and President of the Friends of the Library, Mrs. Culver Smith, raised $124,000 to supplement funds for a new space. Its groundbreaking was held in May of 1967, and the building was formally dedicated in April of 1968.

Another fun fact: The library has the cast iron scissors that Betty used at the ribbon-cutting on exhibit, as well as lapel tags from fundraising fairs and an audio recording of Black Mountain Mayor Larry Harris recalling its moving day, when children toted books to the new location in little red wagons.

The Black Mountain Public Library we know today, located at 105 N. Dougherty St., was designed by Asheville native Anthony Lord (who also designed the Asheville Citizen-Times building). He used native stone + plants in its landscaping.

In 1993, the Town of Black Mountain re-dedicated the library in honor of Betty Tyson, renaming it the Black Mountain - Tyson Public Library. Today, the 54-year-old building needs renovation + expansion, and nonprofit The Friends of the Black Mountain Library plans to fundraise and campaign for facility improvements.

Want even more local library history? Local historian + resident Tom Stiles will discuss the library’s founding and growth tonight from 6-7:15 p.m.

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