Snider Memorial Library serving MHS for 60 years

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Snider Memorial Library at Manila High School is 60 years old, the oldest building on the school campus. School librarian Debra Lee said thanks to the upkeep of the building, it is still a beautiful building with a lot of character.

Snider Memorial Library has been serving Manila School since 1949.

Lee has taught for 28 years serving as librarian since 1991. She is a 1977 graduate of Manila High School.

"I have spent a lot of time in this library and I love it," Lee said.

Snider Memorial Library was built in 1949 at a cost of $10,000. The buff brick building was completed and dedicated as Snider Memorial Hall in honor of Grover Snider who financed much of the cost of the building.

According to the history, other citizens made sizeable donations to help with other expenses and lifetime membership were sold for $25 each.

The shelving and cabinets were built by Riley Powell with the materials coming from base closing in Halls, Tenn. The shelves were assembled in the Manila agri building.

Debra Lee, Manila High School librarian, has a website and writes short reviews of all the new books placed in the high school library. (Town Crier photos/Revis Blaylock)

Francys Faulkner, a longtime Manila resident who now lives in Memphis, served many years as librarian. She started teaching in Manila in 1949 and accepted the position as librarian in 1951.

"In the back room of the library we had theater seats with a big screen," Mrs. Faulkner recalls. "The teachers would get films from the Department of Education, bring their classrooms to the library and show the movies."

Mrs. Faulkner served as librarian until she retired in 1981. She now lives in Memphis in a retirement home and stays active with the different activities. Snider Memorial Library will always be special in her memories.

"In those days it was all hands-on," Faulkner said. "There were no computers. We had a great source of research materials. It was also a part of the county library. Not only did we serve the school but we served the community. The Mississippi County Library helped us with books. It served as part of the county library system until the public library was opened in town."

Mrs. Faulkner said then, like now, students served as library aids.

"The aids were special to me," Mrs. Faulkner said.

Lee recalls a visit from Mrs. Faulkner in 1996.

"She had been retired over 15 years," Lee said. "I was a little worried she would not like the changes I had made but she was so supportive and encouraging. While she was visiting, a student came in and asked for a folk lore book. Mrs. Faulkner asked her the name of the book and she got up and walked to the exact location of book and pulled it out of the shelf."

Mrs. Lee said in 1994 the library was awarded a $50,000 renovation and technology grant through the Snider Foundation.

Today the Middle School and Elementary School have their own libraries. The back room of the Snider library is used for Distance Learning classes. The library is equipped with 12 notebook computers and will be getting four more.

Lee said books are still used for research, it is not all computerized. She said at one time Snider Library had 11,800 books but shared with the Middle School Library and now has 8,400 books.

"We keep 8-10 books per student," she said. "I try to save some of my allotted money at the end of the year when I am making purchases to have at the beginning of the next year. I like to purchase students' favorite books or series that come out through the summer months. One of the most popular series with the girls right now is the Twilight Series. The boys are enjoying the Percy Jackson Series."

Lee has a website for the library and puts a short review of all the new books for her students to view before they check them out. She reads all the books and makes comparisons to share with students.

Lee said the library also offers book reports on line for the accelerated reader program, keeps a selection of AP books for book reports, a variety of popular books, magazines, newspaper, and classics.

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