The Rupert Public Library is preparing to celebrate its anniversary on Friday, Oct. 1. Not only is this the anniversary of the library opening at its current location, but it is also the anniversary of its original opening.
On October 1 in 1977, Rupert’s first community public library was established and dedicated as an “Outpost Library.” At this time, only one of the two current wings existed. Between the years 1977 and 1978, the Rupert Library operated with a seven-member committee, which was under direction from the Greenbrier County Public Library. In July of 1978, measures were taken to become independent from the Greenbrier County Library.
A contract was entered in July of 2000 for the Greenbrier County Library to become Rubert Library’s regional library.
In the year 2013, the library would reach another major step in growth. It would be on Oct. 1 of this year that the library would move into the Shafer Hardware Store building.
The hardware store was established in 1949 by Elvin Shafer who ran the store with his wife for many years. According to a brief history of the library recorded in the “Journal of the Greenbrier Historical Society” by Carol McClung, Shafer’s daughter, Jackie took over the store after her parents passed away. As time went on and family members passed away, the remaining heirs decided to deed the building to the town of Rupert. However, they placed one stipulation on this transfer; the building must be used as a public library. According to McClung’s entry in the Journal of the Greenbrier Historical Society, the decision to deed the building to the town is attributed to Minah Shafer, wife of Bill Shafer.
After the Shafer Hardware Store building was deeded to the town of Rupert, renovations began. Then, on October 1, 2013, the building reopened as the new location for the Rupert Public Library.
A transcription of oral history located in the “Journal of the Greenbrier Historical Society” along with the History of the Rupert Library describes a conversation with Minah Shafer. This transcription is from an interview with Shafer in 2016. During this interview, she stated her husband Bill and her sister-in-law Jackie passed away within only a couple of weeks of each other. This left Minah to decide the fate of the building.
During the eight years since the library opened in the Shafer Hardware building, they have hosted quite a few programs, says McClung who is the head librarian. This includes art shows, Earth Day celebrations, summer reading programs, monthly book discussions and much more.
“Of course, this past year we haven’t had much going on, but we did remain open all through the COVID,” McClung said of operating during the pandemic.
McClung also noted, “We have a large selection of books for all ages, we keep the current releases and we have a children’s book section.”
The Rupert Library had planned to hold an art show in September; however, it, unfortunately, had to be canceled due to COVID-19 related concerns. McClung said they plan on rescheduling the event for April 2022.
When asked why the anniversary is important to her, McClung said, “The community really likes their library and they’re really happy that we opened in the new building that was donated to us and we would just like to recognize we are starting our eighth year in the new building and people are still interested in the library and want to help us move forward with our ability to serve the public.”
The motto of the Rupert Public Library states, “we do more than just books.” McClung said, “We engage people and inform people and inspire them to be better and to have a love of libraries and a love of reading.”
For more information about the Rupert Public Library and its history, visit rupert.lib.wv.us or check out the entry in the Journal of the Greenbrier Historical Society which is an annual publication. For all other information related to the library call 304-392-6158.
Stop in between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1 and wish the staff a happy anniversary.