History of the Library
by Mrs. Katherine Melvin
The nucleus of what would later become the Roseboro Town Library, a branch of the Sampson-Clinton Public Library, began in the years 1935-36, due to the efforts of the Athenia-Lanier and Two Arts clubs. Both clubs stressed literature and began a monthly book exchange among members to compensate for their lack of a library.
Then, in May of 1942, these two clubs voted to pay $2.25 each to the town's Mayor toward a librarian's monthly salary and to get the book collection started by using the books owned by each club and any the Clinton Library could furnish. The Library's first home would be a small front wing of the newly finished Community Building. The new library, according to the Sampson Independent, was under the supervision of Mrs. R. E. Williams of Clinton, who was tri-county librarian for Sampson, Duplin and Onslow Counties. The local directors of the library were Mrs. J. Abner Barker, Mrs. W. P. Starling and Mayor Carmen Butler. This library was first staffed by a W.P.A. worker (a federal program). Later the library was relocated in another room of the community building for convenience reasons.
From there, when this federal program dispensed, the town assumed the obligation for staffing. The late Miss Margaret Faison, Clinton Librarian, trained two local girls, Daphne McKenzie and Mable Ann West, to properly run the library after school. The library was also occasionally staffed by Juanita Butler, who drove the county bookmobile.
In 1955, the library went to a new home on West Street, where two front offices of a garage building were renovated; one becoming the town office and the other (the former Trailways Bus Station), being converted into library quarters. In 1956, Mrs. Mary Perry took the position of librarian and remained there until 1964. Then, in July of the same year, the position was offered to Mrs. Elizabeth Phillips. She served as librarian for 25 years.
Next, on May 18, 1969, Roseboro's new Municipal Building was dedicated. A large room was designated as the town library. As time passed, shelves were added and it became evident that larger facilities were needed.
For that reason, due to the efforts of concerned citizens, Mayor Brant Waters, and the generous gift of a site by the Roseboro Baptist congregation, the library made its fifth move in April 1990, to a newly completed building which occupies an entire block in the heart of downtown Roseboro.