Hawkes Library turns 100 on Saturday – Valley Times-News

Hawkes Library turns 100 on Saturday

Posted at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Citizens flocked to the West Point Hawkes Library to celebrate its 100th anniversary on Saturday with multi-generational games, a barbershop quartet and a presentation to honor the library’s history.

Outside the library, children participated in potato sack and egg-on-a-spoon races, tug of war and more while adults gathered around boxes of free books. The Southern Crescent Crooners barbershop quartet sang the classics, setting the stage for guests who rode the festivities in their finest 1920s attire.

Children and adults alike celebrated with face painting and a traditional lemon treat with a peppermint stick. There were also food trucks like Kona Ice and BJ’s Butthouse.

Hawkes Impersonator Garrison Brown gave a speech honoring librarians and telling the story of the library and the Friends of the Hawkes organization. Volunteer Ellen Sapp and Friends of the Hawkes founder Lynda Hines also spoke about their stories with the library.

“In all the years that we’ve had Friends, we’ve never had a problem having on our board not just people, but leaders and people who are enthusiastic about doing things for the library,” Hines said in his speech.

During Brown’s speech, the Friends of the Hawkes Library honored living librarians for their care and dedication to the historic library.

In attendance were Dale Smith, librarian from 1980 to 1992, and Rebecca Cotney, librarian from 1992 to 2014. Both received a bouquet of flowers and a round of applause from the audience. Mary Ann Davenport, the librarian from 2014 to 2021, was unable to attend the event.

Current Librarian Jane Duskin was also present and honoured. Another Hawkes leader to be honored was Dr. Lacey Southerland for her work with the children’s program and for organizing the celebration. Ellen Sapp also spoke during the presentation. She spoke of her mother, who was present for the inauguration in 1922. She said how excited her mother was to finally enter the library and that she continued to do so for the rest of her life.

“Hawkes Library is a small, intimate library where everyone feels caring and a refuge from the busy world,” Ellen Sapp said during the presentation. “May he never catch up to his time.”

Within the library itself, the Friends of the Hawkes Library have set up an educational slide show about the history of the library. Visitors grabbed a piece of birthday cake and signed up to have their photo taken with Hawkes mascot and Hawkes impersonator Garrison Brown.

Another honor of the Friends of the Hawkes Library was the restoration of an original 100-year-old table by Marshall Sapp. Southerland thanked Sapp, husband of Ellen Sapp, for his contribution.

“It’s about eight feet long and has had several hundred children sitting around working on projects, eating snacks and of course, reading books for 100 years,” Brown said. “May it last another 100 years.”

Hawkes was an Atlanta optometrist and philanthropist who dedicated his time to funding several children’s libraries in rural Georgia. Per Hawkes’ request, some of the libraries also included theaters for the community to use. When the building was constructed, there was a theater just across the street where community members watched moving pictures.

“The interior of the building has changed very little since it opened in 1922,” said Ellen Sapp. “The tall windows, simple design and two original fireplaces provide a cozy and nostalgic environment for reading.”

Hawkes Children’s Library in West Point and Hawkes Library in Cedartown, Georgia are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A few of Hawkes’ libraries still stand, but the West Point location is the only one still actively used as a library.

“To this day, you can sign your name on the library card like you would in 1922,” Brown said.

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