By Randy Arrington
STANLEY, Dec. 5 — Although the library is typically a place reserved for quiet, the Stanley Council recently wondered why they hadn’t heard any noise coming from the William “Bill” Kibler Memorial Library just down the street.
“You know they say the squeaky wheel gets the grease…but you folks haven’t been squeaking too loud,” Mayor Michael Knight joked with members of the library’s board of directors on Monday night.
Nearly the entire town council, along with the mayor and town staff, met with library officials earlier this week to reintroduce themselves to one another and discuss both short-term and long-term needs for the library.
“All of you, and all of the volunteers do a great job, so we never hear anything,” Town Manager Terry Pettit said. “So we thought it would be good to get together, introduce ourselves, have you introduce yourselves, and talk about how things are going and what you may need down the road.”
Most of the questions posed to Ben Dodson, president of the library’s board of directors, were met with, “We’re fine.” From furniture to finances, the current state of the community library seems to be pretty good.
“We’ve been blessed that the community continues to donate,” said Lori Hassett, the library’s treasurer.
The estimated $25,000 to $30,000 annual “bare bones” day-to-day operating costs are covered by donations and the county’s annual $40,000 contribution. The Town of Stanley owns and helps maintain the building and property. Financially, the next big step for the library is hiring part-time employees to allow for more extended and consistent operating hours, as well decrease the dependency on the library’s 26 volunteers. Fundraisers are being planned to generate more funds toward that goal.
Since the Stanley site broke away from the Massanutten Regional Library (MRL) system in 2011, board members admit the grass roots, community approach to running a local library has its pros and cons, but many enjoy the local control of being independent of the larger network that still operates the Page Public Library in Luray.
“In my opinion, we are doing a lot better now than when we were a part of Massanutten,” Mayor Knight said on Monday.
The operation has since been driven by volunteers, as the Stanley community rallied together to support the new facility through the dedication of individuals like Beth Good, who the beautifially decorated Reading Room is named in honor of following her death in 2018. Another room is dedicated to the library’s namesake, filled with items donated by William Sumpter Kibler, who previously lived in the small brick house across from the auto parts store on Main Street and passed in 2002. The library’s conference room is used by numerous community organizations, as well as those needing a quiet space for independent research or study.
For those who have never been, the interior of the library is quite impressive for a small town. They host Story Times for dozens of children, as well as a special Rhythm and Rhyme program that involves musical instruments incorporated into stories. The Kibler Library has more than 15,000 items available — to include books, DVDs, audio books and music CDs — that are reviewed and replaced routinely as new volumes come in and older items that are not checked out for some time are phased out. Printing, copying, fax and computer services are also available. Many adults use the available computers and internet to conduct a job search, fill out online job applications, print out forms, do their taxes, and a host of other uses.
Each month, Stanley’s small community library averages around 300 visitors, 200-plus hours of computer use, 300-plus titles checked out, and a half dozen events that reserve the conference room.
Although they are trying to ween out paperbacks, the Kibler Library still accepts donations of books and other materials (DVDs, CDs). Those that do not end up as part of their collection are forwarded to other organizations seeking book donations.
The current needs of the library discussed on Monday night were limited to replacing interior and exterior lights that had burned out (just replacing bulbs). While Dodson said the space is a little tight at times (and more space could be used for storage), he noted that overall, “we’re fine.” He did add that there is enough room to add another rows of racks for new books. The only real need cited was to potentially repair or replace the steps in front of the building, where the concrete is deteriorating.
Down the road, Dodson noted that the parking lot at the library may need repaving in a couple of years, and at some point soon, they will need to upgrade their computers (hardware, as software is now leased on an annual basis).
The current state of the Kibler Library is pretty good. However, the facility is open only four days a week as volunteers can only do so much. The hope is to extend that to five days on a consistent basis.
Soon, the Kibler Library will be updating its Facebook page (see below), a decision made at Monday night’s library board meeting, which convened after town officials left the building. Library officers for 2023 (effective Jan. 1) were also chosen at the meeting, including:
- President — Terry Wiita
- Vice President — Jeanne Cave
- Treasurer — Lori Hassett
- Secretary — Brenda Dodson
- Buildings and Grounds Chair — Ben Dodson
One board member shared her memories and feelings about the Kibler Library, noting its special beginning and unique sense of community.
“The kids need to understand, this library is not just magically here.”
To learn more about the Kibler Library, its history and its programs,
or visit their Facebook page at
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Oh! A national woke issue dumps on a local library. Now how did that happen?