C.E. Weldon Library
As strange as it may seem, the C.E. Weldon Library was not officially recognized as a public library until Monday night’s meeting of the Martin City Board.
A resolution recognizing the prior establishment and existence of a public library was unanimously approved.
According to Martin Mayor Randy Brundige, this action was deemed necessary, after an exhaustive review of the minutes prepared in conjunction with past City Legislative Body meetings and a review of resolutions adopted by the City of Martin Legislative Body, revealed that no record of formal legislative action establishing a free public library in the City of Martin could be found.
(See compete story in Feb. 14th issue of the Dresden Enterprise.)
History of C.E. Weldon Library
Founded in 1925 as the Woman’s Club Library, the library was housed in a room at the Martin Elementary School and was open one afternoon a week. Under Miss Mary Fitts, Martin’s first librarian, it moved in 1927 into a 900 sq. ft. building known as the Ladies’ Waiting Room in IC Park (now known as Virginia Weldon Park). The name was later changed to Martin Public Library, and Mattie Burke took over as librarian. When Mrs. Burke fell ill in 1955, Irene Coffman became librarian.
In 1965, many Martin residents began talking about the need for a bigger and better library. After the new post office was built, the library board applied for use of the old building. With help and encouragement from Mayor C. E. “Cliff” Weldon and the city board, the application was approved. After much work, fund-raising events, a flea market, and door-to-door requests, enough money was raised to do the necessary renovations on the building. Many interested people in the community came in and painted, refinished furniture, and made curtains, among other things.
Though some of the work was still being completed, the library was moved into its new home and was open for the community just after Christmas, 1967. An official opening was held in March 1968.
In 1983, Mrs. Coffman retired after serving as librarian for 28 years. Theresa Johnson, who resigned her job in the Weakley County School System to take the job, became the new full-time head librarian.
On March 12, 1984, the Martin Public Library was officially renamed the C. E. Weldon Public Library, in memory of former mayor C. E. “Cliff” Weldon. Over the years, the basement was renovated to house the Children’s Library and The Tennessee Room.
In 2000, a major renovation and expansion project began, and the library moved into its temporary home next to City Hall on South Lindell Street. The main floor of the library building was completely renovated, along with the second floor, which now houses The Tennessee Room. The new wing of the library, which houses a new elevator, additional bookshelves, and the new conference room, was also built.
With renovations complete, the library moved back into its home in 2002. New features of the library included a Media Center, an expanded Children’s Library, story hour room, an expanded Tennessee Room, and a large public meeting room.
Later in 2002, Mrs. Johnson resigned her post as library director after 18 years of service. Roberta Peacock, Mrs. Johnson’s long-time assistant, was then appointed director. Mrs. Peacock continues to serve the Martin community’s informational, educational and leisure reading needs today.