The library’s story begins in a small corner of the Henderson County Court House in April 1948. Dr. Edwin Deusner, pastor of First Baptist Church, Lexington, Tennessee, saw the need for a library in Henderson County. Dr. Deusner went before the Henderson County Court and asked the County Commission to approve and support a public library for Henderson County. The Commission answered by appropriating $550 for the library to begin. Miss Robbie Wallace, affectionately called “Miss Robbie” by all who knew here, served as Clerk and Master. Since the new library was located in her office, she just added the title “Librarian” to her list of duties and a small bookshelf to her office furnishings. The library began accepting book donations from the public, and Shiloh Regional Library began contributing volumes.
The library collection grew and remained under the care of Miss Robbie for many years. When the county built a new courthouse, Miss Robbie oversaw the move out of the old building into an old garage and then back into its new quarters on the second floor in the new courthouse. It was during this time that the City of Lexington began making financial contributions to the library. Later, the library moved from the courthouse to some rooms in a vacated school building. Mrs. Bernice Maness served as librarian at this location. The building needed repairs desperately. The leaking roof made it a very unsuitable home for books.
The library found itself in a very precarious position; there was a possibility the library would have to close. A gentleman named Everett Horn came forward and became the savior of the library by establishing an irrevocable trust fund for the library. The interest from this trust helped fund the library’s operations. At that time, the library board changed the library’s name to include Mr. Horn’s name; the library would then be known as the Lexington-Henderson County Everett Horn Library.
Mr. Horn went on to make a large donation to help build the library a new building at its present location, 702 West Church St., Lexington, TN. The library has enjoyed its new home ever since. Bernice Maness, Belinda Thompson and Lynn Lewis served consecutively as librarians at the new location from 1990-2000. In December 2000, Dinah Harris became the Director.
As the years have passed, the need for and use of the library has grown exponentially. The library’s staff prides themselves on their customer service, an ever-evolving materials collection, and their service to the community through programs and community assistance.Thousands of patrons take advantage of the library’s offerings each month.
In addition to providing traditional library services, the library has gained a reputation of being one of the most progressive and technologically up-to-date for a library its size. The library now has 25 public access computers which are used extensively by the citizens of Henderson County along with increasingly heavy use of the library’s wireless internet service. Everett Horn Library is very visible on the Internet with its own web site; the library also has a web presence on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Flickr.
The library not only has established a web presence but a community presence as well. Library staff is heavily involved in community outreach including the Henderson County Imagination Library and the Henderson County Folk Festival.
The citizens of Henderson County are proud of their library, what it does for the community and where it is today. Although plans for the future include changes in the library building, one thing will remain the same: the library will always be the heart of the community.