At the club's meeting on November 3 of that year, Mrs. H. C. Camp reported that she had some books on hand and would soon open a small library.
The Sylvester Local Newspaper, April 11, 1929
Mrs. Beulah Alford Johnston, a graduate of Shorter College, and an ardent supporter of the library, served as the first librarian and continued in the post until the night of her death in 1948, with the exception of a short period. During this period, due to illness in her family, she was relieved by Mrs., W. L. H. Alford, another loyal interested worker.
During 1896 and 1897, funds were raised to build a permanent Church for the group. A building committee was formed. Serving on the committee were Mr. W. H. McPhaul who gave the lot and material aid; Mr. J. S. Westberry, who wasn't a Methodist but a loyal friend to the cause; Mr. G. J. Wallace; and Mr. W. A. Allen.On the 1st of February, 1897, The Laying of the Corner Stone service was conducted by Rev. H. Stubbs, Presiding Elder of the Valdosta District, assisted by Pastor E. A. Sanders, who was entering his second year's service to the Circuit. During this service, the contractor, John McPhaul placed a corner stone of Georgia marble and inscribed with Sylvester M. E. Church, 1897, along with the names of the pastor and the building committee.
In October, 1898, the 1st church service was held in the new Sylvester Methodist Church located on the corner of Pope and Westberry Streets..
In 1909, the Sylvester Methodist Church had grown to the point that the members felt they had outgrown the current building and plans were made to build a new Church. The corner stone for the new Pinson Methodist Church was laid in 1910.
In the fall of 1911, the First Presbyterian Church of Sylvester purchased the Sylvester Methodist Church building.
In 1959, the Sylvester Presbyterian Church building and lot was sold to the Worth County Hospital Authority. The Church building was then sold to the Sylvester Woman's Club for $200.00 to be moved across the street to the lot next to the Sylvester Woman's Club to be used for a library. Money for the purchase was donated to the Sylvester Woman's Club by the Sylvester Banking Company.
On August 6, 1959, county workers removed the tall steeple and the vestibule from the building before it was to be moved across the street by commercial movers.
Sylvester Local News, September 3, 1959
On December 24, 1959, The Sylvester Local reported that the contract for the repairs and remodeling of the building had been let to J. B. Bower of Poulan. The total cost for moving and remodeling was $5,290.00.
On May 22, 1960, remodeling of the building, including the addition of a front porch with double doors, had been completed. The Sylvester-Worth County Library moved into the Presbyterian Church with an Open House held at the new library on May 22, 1960. The old atmosphere of the building, with its high beaded ceiling and its stained glass windows, was carefully preserved.
The Sylvester Local May 19, 1960
In 1988, the building known as the Sylvester Methodist Church/ First Presbyterian Church of Sylvester/ Sylvester-Worth County Library was sold to David Sr. and Rita Jones.
At the present time, the building is occupied by Abundant Life Ministries.
"It's a real cornerstone for progress," he continued. "As we gather here today to dedicate this monument to the future may we dedicate our efforts and support for the continued progress for education not just for our young people and youth but for our senior citizens and all those between."
Mrs. Margaret M. Jones, for whom the library was named, presented a Bible to the library. She said that she presented the Bible "in hopes that those who search for wisdom and knowledge in these walls will first find inspiration through these pages."
Dedication program speakers and service can be seen by clicking on the cover photo.
One of his signature pieces was an oil painting of the Old Worth County Courthouse which was built in 1905. Two of his paintings depicting historical landmarks of Sylvester hang in the library, "The Old Train in the Park" and "Big Poke."
In the 1980's Worth Countians began to see the need for a new library building as the old building was not large enough to accommodate patrons.
Marian A. Sumner was a leader in the drive from the beginning realizing the need for a building that would meet the growing demands of not only the present but future generations.
She used her influence in the political arena to make a new library a reality. After the completion of the building she tirelessly campaigned for funds to complete the meeting room which she named the DeSoto Room.
Pictured from left to right: Library Board Vice-Chairman Marian A. Sumner, County Commission Chairman Wilson Mims, Sylvester Mayor Oren Harden and Library Board Chair Ernest Harris.
As a child, Sylvester native and critically acclaimed novelist Sue Monk Kidd could not separate in her mind the entanglement of church and library. Her mother says that she would beg to go to church. Her parents Ridley and Leah Monk were awed by her piety until they realized she meant the library.
Pictured left to right: Mrs. Leah Monk, Mrs. Sue Monk Kidd, Mrs. Vickie Willis Young and Mrs. Virginia Andrews.
On the evening of August 26, 2022, we celebrated 100 years of library service to Worth County. All three of the buildings that have served as libraries were open to the community to tour and reminisce. Members of the Worth County Historical Society along with Rita, David and Lane Jones served as docents at each building to share the rich history. We are grateful to the Jones family for preserving and restoring the Bennie Love Alford home and the Methodist Church.