The many perils the city of Williford has faced regarding getting a new library seems to be never ending.
Recently, Marilyn Bishoff, a close friend of the late Glenna Garner, a teacher from Williford who had a great love for the Williford Library, announced the receipt of a $200,000 grant to purchase property for a new library for the city as well as to pay for the renovation of the existing building. This announcement was made at the meeting of the Sharp County Library Board Oct. 6 at Iberia Bank in Hardy.
The new building will be much larger than the current one and will have media centers and computers for the public. It will be located just outside Ozark Acres on Highway. 62/63/412 near Paul Garner Real Estate.
This announcement, most would agree was exciting news for the library which has been through many disappointments since last year. The Sharp County Library Board, however, did not agree to allow the Williford Library to begin construction due to an issue with a lease agreement.
Architect Larry Bronson attended the meeting and provided members with renderings of the library.
Sharp County has four libraries, due mostly to the fact that the county is geographically dispersed in regard to cities in the county. Cave City, Evening Shade, Hardy and Williford currently have libraries that are governed under the Sharp County Library Board.
Debra Sutterfield, Regional Library Director told the Library Board that it is their policy that they have on file a written lease agreement with each of the libraries. After being asked by the Villager Journal to supply a copy of this policy on two different occasions, Sutterfield said, "I haven't had time to get down to Hardy and look through the minutes of the meetings in which this policy was included." The Sharp County Library Board is an autonomous board, yet Sutterfield maintains she is the one to have to locate the policy and her office is located in Batesville.
The library has endured many hard times including the floods of both 2006 and 2008 in which they lost nearly all of their books due to high water and leakage.
Bishoff said before Glenna Garner died she made a verbal request to her that she wanted the library to remain in Williford. The two were close friends and shared a great love for the library as well as serving on the literacy council.
Glenna's son Boyd Garner gave the city of Williford the present library after having it surveyed off his mother's property and deeded to the city following his mother's death. The city could not take on the responsibility of the building's maintenance and utilities so Garner also set up an account with $5,000 and gave the city jurisdiction to administer the fund to pay the expenses associated with running the library, including, but not limited to utilities and maintenance. This partnership was the current working relationship with the Sharp County Library Board and Bishoff said they accepted the agreement with no signed lease agreement.
Bishoff was visibly upset after all the hard work she and others put into writing the grant and being put off on the construction of the much needed library.
Bishoff said, "There has never been any indication made that we need to sign a lease with the board because they accepted the prior arrangements."
She said the land the new library sits on will also be deeded to the city of Williford and the city has already passed an ordinance annexing the land into the city limits of Williford.
Bishoff says the city will not sign a lease agreement with the board. She said the fund that was established has always taken care of the expenses related to the library and it currently has $13,000 dollars in it and continues to grow.