I was wondering if people realized that the (Fayette County Public Library) has an archive room — two rooms, actually — available for a number of years now for people to visit.
The older of the two is our West Virginia Collection located in the Fayetteville branch. This room is for those looking for state history and information. Here you will find books by state residents, general histories and records of the area, even some before West Virginia was a state! The collection is available for viewing during all normal library hours. The library even has a Fayette County History Discussion program on Mondays from 6 to 7 p.m. Randall Ballard, branch librarian and host, answers questions about the area and helps those interested in researching local events.
While not as old as the West Virginia Collection, the archive in Oak Hill is just as informative and a well-rounded collection. Located in the main office of the library (the building behind the Oak Hill Public Library), it is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and emphasizes more on local and county information. It features a large collection of old photographs, newspapers, county history, local genealogy, and yearbooks. There is even a display of coal memorabilia, old clothing, and local collectibles showcased at all times. This curated collection is sure to meet any needs of the budding genealogist or local historian.
Because most of these collections feature hard to find and locally published books, the library always accepts donations. The archive in particular is very desirous of yearbooks. Our yearbooks are the most looked at item in our archive. Parents stop in to show their children their old class photos, numerous people use them to verify high school information, or people stop by to reminisce about the past. However there are some years we don’t have and cannot purchase. Yearbook donations are always welcomed and deeply appreciated!
These two rooms offer specialized research opportunities. If you’re looking for more general information, you should stop by one of our other five branches. Located in Ansted, Meadow Bridge, Mount Hope, Montgomery, and Oak Hill, each offers books on general state and county history. Local authors Dale Payne and Melody Bragg are patron favorites and all of our branches have at least one of their books for checkout.
If you are interested in exploring the area or learning about the history of your family, we hope you will remember the library in your research endeavors. We have a lot to offer you, not just in materials but in knowhow as well.
Kim Massey, extension librarian, can be contacted at 304-465-0121 or 304-465-5664.