HISTORY OF THE CHESTER COUNTY LIBRARY
The Chester County Library came into existence in 1961 at the insistence of the women’s organization, the Pentagon Club. Mrs. Lerlie McCallum, who was a community activist, was the driving force behind the formation of the library. The proposal for beginning a library was brought before the County Court, which was Chester County’s governing body at that time. The court voted to accept the library on a two-year demonstration basis with total funding coming from the federal government. At the end of the two-year period, the County Court accepted the library’s funding as their responsibility. Library Committee members included Tom McCorkle, Virginia Stewart, Imogene Fitts, Manson Roby, Hubert Seaton, Lewis Jones, and Dr. Orman Campbell.
The library was first located in a small upstairs room in the Court House and was opened to the public in October of 1961. Lucille Melton was the first librarian, a position she held for ten years. The first library patrons were Jerry and Jack McCorkle and Nancy Meadows Canada, who served as Library Director until August of 2019.
After approximately nine months in the Court House, the library moved across the street to an upstairs room in the old City Hall building. The library remained there until 1974, when it relocated to a storefront building in downtown Henderson that is now China King Restaurant. The present location was built in 1999. The first public access computers were donations by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000.
Library Directors besides Mrs. Melton have included Betty Jane Stewart Hardin; Pauline Cherry, who held the position for 23 years; Juanita Waller; Linda Maurer; Nancy Canada, who was the Director for 23 years, was instrumental in getting our new building at 1012 E Main Street; and currently holding the position, Savannah Gilbert.