Little Community with Big Heart Saves State's Smallest Library

September 13, 2006 - Posted at 5:49 p.m.

WILLIFORD, AR -- Williford is home to the smallest library in the state of Arkansas and when it was in danger of closing permanently...folks in the community rallied to keep it open.

The Williford library is only open three afternoons a week, but it's enough time for books to fly off the shelves.

"We have 30 or 40 regulars that come nearly every week, but last month I think we had 304 books that went out, quiet a lot for a town of 63," said Librarian Crystal Coble.

When benefactor Glenna Garner passed away 18 months ago, Coble wasn't sure how the doors would stay open.  Garner, a retired teacher The city pays $250 for gas and the Sharp County Library Board covers the phone bill...but the electricity was running $30-$40 a month and the roof needed to be replaced.

"On behalf of the Glenna Garner estate, I am glad to present you with the deed to the library to the town of Williford," said Boyd Garner as he handed over the papers to temporary mayor Dudley Louvier.

"Now that we will be publicly owned, we'll be able to file for grants and get money to put a new roof on the place and maybe make some improvements, maybe put in a bathroom," said Coble.

"We also have been appropriated $2,000 for the roof by the library board but they could not release those funds until it became a public owned entity and now we can dip into those," said library supporter Marilyn Bischoff.

The Williford library is only 288 square feet and houses 5,769 books and when you break that down, that's 93 books for each of the towns 63 residents.

"We have a lot of people that need a lot of books.  They come in and read, we have avid readers here it seems like and this really has become the sort of heart of the community it seems like," said Coble, "This is where people come and hang out and catch up on gossip and the kids come to play."

The library is accepting donations and volunteers.  To help call (870) 257-2056