BHM Regional Library celebrates 75 years

Published 4:19 pm Thursday, November 3, 2016

From BHM Regional Library

The BHM Regional Library is celebrating its 75th anniversary this fall.

Beaufort, Hyde and Martin counties worked together to establish the first regional library in North Carolina in 1941. The first library services were delivered by a single bookmobile, a Chevrolet Suburban purchased from the State Library Commission for $150. Elizabeth House, the first librarian and a native of Robersonville, drove the vehicle to 116 stops in the three counties. She was very well received. The Washington Daily News reported in 1942 that nearly 7,600 books were circulated in just the first six months of service. The original bookmobile was named “Shasta” because “she has to go.” Vehicle parts were in short supply due to World War II, but the mechanics at the Beaufort County school bus garage were able to keep Shasta on the road until 1947.

Since then, the regional library has grown to eight branches that serve citizens from Aurora to Ocracoke. Library services have expanded to include not just books but free Wi-Fi and computer access, online databases, job search help and community meeting spaces. The bookmobile service is no more, but patrons in rural areas can access eBooks and eAudiobooks instantly through their smartphones or tablets.

As a thank you for 75 years of support, libraries in Beaufort County will be hosting free receptions for the public in November. The Belhaven Public Library will be serving drinks and snacks at a walk-in reception from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday. The Bath Community Library will be serving light refreshments as part of Bath’s Historic Home Tour on Dec. 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The BHM Headquarters in Washington will be hosting Coffee Mondays every Monday in November. Everyone is invited to warm up with a hot cup of coffee and explore what the library has to offer.