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Please have your Pastport ready: Just passing through Russellville Public Library

The next stop on the Franklin County Pastport is the Russellville Public Library, which just recently celebrated its 105th birthday.

“We’re happy to be a part of the Pastport,” said library director Ashley Cummins.

For 25 years the Russellville Public Library has been housed at 110 East Lawrence St., in downtown, but before 1994 it called a few places home.

The Russellville Library Club opened the first public library in Russellville Feb. 14, 1913. It was housed in an upstairs room on Jackson Avenue, donated by C.E. Wilson.

In 1936, 23 years later, the library was moved to the Franklin County courthouse annex. The county provided staff, space and utilities.

“To me, one of the most interesting things is that it used to be the Franklin County Library and that we used to house the archives,” said Cummins.

In 1942 the State Library Service and the Works Progress Administration set up the library in another part of the courthouse. The old library donated its 1,000 books to the new facility, and the WPA provided 550 volumes. When the WPA closed in 1943, the county took over full responsibility of the library, calling it the Franklin County Public Library until 1974, when the library was moved to West Lawrence Street.

The library remained at that location until 1994, when it relocated to East Lawrence Street in a building donated by the Creamer family, who left it to the city to be used for a library.

In 2002 the materials in the Major William Russell Genealogy Room were moved to the new Franklin County Archives building.

RPL has seen a lot of changes over the years and has recently made upgrades to its circulation and services provided to the community.

It is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and is closed Sunday and Monday.

This is the four in a series in which the Franklin County Times will spotlight each location on the Franklin County Pastport. Please have your Pastport ready to travel throughout the county!