By Donna Thornton/News Editor
Libraries are places for stories, and no stories can be more important to a community than the histories of its people.
The Gadsden Public Library has given a new home to those stories, moving its genealogy and reference section to the newly renovated fourth floor.
The Bobby Junkins Reference and Genealogy Department celebrated its opening recently with a ribbon-cutting, attended by city officials and supporters of the library – including the new department’s namesake.
Junkins is a former library director at GPL, as well as being a former state legislator and longtime Etowah County Probate Judge.
Junkins has continued to be a champion of public libraries, working for their support during his time in the legislature.
“Bobby Junkins has always been one of our best friends,” library director Amanda Jackson said.
The City of Gadsden and the library staff worked to renovate the fourth floor – long used as storage space – to house the libraries reference and genealogy material, along with its microfilm machines. Those materials were moved from the first floor. Gadsden Mayor Sherman Guyton said other than installing carpet, all the work was done by city employees.
“I used to clean this floor, “ Junkins said at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “I met my wife at the library.” Junkins was the youngest-ever director of the library, and clearly, remains dedicated to it.
“The library is the soul of the community,” Junkins said. “Our library is one of the best in the state.” And, as Junkins pointed out, the library is bound to be one of the most active in the state, with a variety of activities for all age groups.
“Here at the library, there’s something going on all the time,” Junkins said.