The Shady Valley Public Library building, the former Senior Center, is located behind the Rock School. Submitted photo.
By Meg Dickens
After many years of hoping, local Sherry Huffman is moving forward with her plan to open a library in Shady Valley. Everything is in place, and Huffman expects to officially open its doors during the Annual Cranberry Festival on October 9 and feature food from the BeetRoute Catering Company. The building is owned by the Shady Rock School, the entity name for the combined Shady Valley Preservation Society 501c3 nonprofit and the Cranberry Festival Committee.
“I have wanted to do a library in Shady for years,” said library organizer Huffman. “Being here in Shady, we’re a little isolated. This could be a blessing to someone.”
The new library will open in what was formerly a senior center in Shady Valley. The center has been closed for many years but was not empty until the past year or so. According to Huffman, Shady Elementary moved its library to that site five to six years ago. Those books are long gone after the school’s closure, but she is reportedly not having trouble amassing books thanks to generous donations from the community and personal buys. Only about two weeks into asking for donations, Huffman reports the library has collected around 500 books and estimates it can hold around 4,000.
The Shady Valley Public Library has no affiliation with the Johnson County Public Library but shares a few things in common. There will be a children’s section, a DVD and VHS section, and a place for anyone interested to put together puzzles. The library currently needs children’s books and other hardcover donations and will be accepting these until the end of September. Huffman hopes to find specialized books for those with trouble with traditional print, such as large print for those with difficulty seeing.
Health permitting, Huffman reports that Evelyn Cooke will be reading her newest children’s book, titled “A Duck Named Lily,” in the library during its grand opening. Huffman asks that everyone wear a mask for both Cooke’s and their protection. Any donated books that are not library-quality will be sold at the Cranberry Festival to help support the library.
Huffman is currently looking for volunteers to help check out books when she is not on site. Anyone interested in volunteering or making a cash donation to the library can call Huffman at (423) 739-4412. Book donations can be dropped off at one of the donation boxes, located at the library site and BeetRoute Catering Company, or dropped off on Huffman’s porch in a plastic bag.