BY VIVIAN TAYLOR
What happened 95 years ago?
Butler County’s longest continuously working library opened its doors in November of 1927.
According to an article in “The Butler County News” newspaper dated Oct. 27, 1927 (Vol 17 No 47), Georgiana business owner and philanthropist, Thaddeus Rose, made it possible, with his generous offer of the use of a location, for The Three Arts Club to open the Thaddeus Luther Rose Library in Georgiana (named in his honor and shortened to Rose Memorial Library (RML) after his death).
The Three Arts Club had approached Mr. Rose with the idea of a library. That concept was the beginning of an adventure that has positively impacted the community and been beneficial for all ages through the years.
Thaddeus Rose, being a proponent of learning, immediately launched these ideas into existence.
Not only did he provide the use of his building, but he also donated the first library books.
At the opening ceremony held on Nov. 8, 1927, Mr. Rose spoke on the advantages of a library. This date marks an important time in the history of Butler County, more specifically, Georgiana.
The Three Arts Club will celebrate its 100th Anniversary in 2023.
Over the past 95 years, they have been instrumental in keeping the library open, even though it has been housed in various locations donated by the City of Georgiana, the doors have remained opened and under the ownership and management of the Three Arts Club.
The Three Arts Club exists to give back to the community. They not only own, manage and run the RML, they are very involved in local community projects.
For the Georgiana area, they help fund Alabama Girls’ State representatives, Student Art Council participants, Butler County Distinguished Young Woman Scholarship, Safe Harbor Children’s Advocacy, Relay for Life, and donate funds to local needy families.
Recently, a local family lost everything to a house fire; they immediately saw a need and assisted monetarily.
Two or more $1,000 scholarships are awarded to Georgiana area girls each year as well as thousands of dollars given to the Hank Williams Boyhood Home and Museum.
Since 2000, They have given more than $67,000 in scholarship funds, donated $4,725 to local Girl’s State Representatives, more than $2,000 to the Distinguished Young Women’s (DYW) Program as well as monetary donations to the Hank Williams Museum and other local charities.
To assist with funding their community service projects for the past 24 years, they have coordinated the Hank Williams programs.
They also provide time to assist with ticket and program sales each year during the festival.
These programs contain not only the weekend schedule, but stories about Hank and local interests as well as advertisements for businesses that so generously purchase ads.
In addition to Hank Williams program and ad proceeds, they host a local Christmas Bazaar at which they offer boxed lunches, baked goods and various other items donated by club members for sale.
The Three Arts Club is honored to have the ability and resources to give back to the community in multiple ways. But the crux of their success story is the Rose Memorial Library and it’s continuous successful operation.
In June of 2018, under the leadership and direction of President Lisa Lowe, the Three Arts Club began a library revitalization project.
The first strategy was acquiring a building conducive for a library. The City of Georgiana graciously donated a building in a great location with adequate space for them to expand upon the current book inventory.
In addition to all genres of books and an updated children’s section, they also have a historical room that houses ‘The Butler County News’ newspapers dating back to 1911, along with various history books and information about historical Butler County and surrounding counties.
Currently, they are in the process of digitizing these newspapers to prevent age related disintegration.
The concept of libraries shifted in the 20th century with the arrival of technology. The Rose Memorial Library has adapted to the changing times by offering the convenience of computers and internet.
In his book, “Bud, not Buddy”, Christopher Paul Curtis says, “…the librarian stopped at her desk and said, ‘Now I know that knowledge is a food, but I couldn’t help noticing you never went to eat. You must be very hungry.”
The author is very insightful and understands the importance of reading. This book is the first book to receive both the Newberry Book for Excellence in American Children’s literature Award and the Coretta Scott King Award, which is given to outstanding African American Authors.
The Rose Memorial Library is hopefully in its permanent home located at 337 Ebenezer Road, Georgiana, directly behind Trustmark Bank.
The library is run by dedicated volunteers and is open Monday-Wednesday 3- 4:30 p.m. and Tuesday-Thursday 12-4 p.m.
If these times are not convenient, please call the following number and they will be glad to meet you: (334) 765-READ (7323).
In the words of Dr. Seuss,
“The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”