James Curry Library
The James W. Curry Library in the Brooks Hill area. / File photo by Katie Kuba

Upshur County officials: There are no plans to close the James W. Curry Library

BROOKS HILL – The Upshur County Commission has no plans to close the James W. Curry Library despite what your Facebook feed may have told you.

On June 17, a Facebook post was made indicating that the Upshur County Commission planned to close the library and use the funds left in the trust by James Curry for other purposes.

Upshur County Administrator Tabatha Perry said there are no plans to close the library.

“There have been some budgetary issues arise, but not within the past year – it’s been ongoing,” Perry said. “There is funding left by Mr. Curry in a trust; however, there are stipulations on that trust, so it’s not fully accessible. Only a certain portion is released for the library to use. I’m unsure how the rumor even got started that the library was closing, but as of right now, all programming is still ongoing, and Judith Williams is still employed full time there, along with Jonathan Freeman.”

The budget for the library is being monitored closely, but that is to ensure the library has suitable funding for its operations.

“I can tell you that we’re watching the budget very closely and the commission is doing everything they can to get the most funding they can from the trust just to cover operations of the library,” Perry said. “There used to be two [full-time] employees there; however now it’s just Judith Williams and they’re just watching their spending on programming materials, but they have not discussed closing down the Curry library.”

During the 2022 county budget sessions in April, the commission allocated funds to hire a lawyer to research the Curry trust and see if there was a way to access more funds for the library.

“The trust was prepared and set up in Maryland, so we’ve gotten as far as we can with the West Virginia trust attorney,” Perry said. “We’re at a stopping point to see where the Curry budget is with Judith and Jonathan as the only employees, and basically just to see where we go from here … to see if the Commission needs to retain a Maryland attorney to see about revising that trust.”

James W. Curry Library director Judith Williams said their programs are already planned out through November 2022.

“We have started our ‘Read Beyond the Beaten Path,’ summer reading program; it is our largest program to date, and we have 28 children involved this year in two separate groups,” Williams said. “We have an elementary group with 21 and we have a middle school group that has seven; that’s the biggest one we’ve had here since I started in 2014, so that’s pretty awesome.”

The library has also started a new exercise program for the summer.

“We also have a two-days-a-week exercise program. It is at 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and we have an instructor come in who teaches calisthenics, so if you’re looking for an exercise program that isn’t as intense as going to the gym, that really isn’t designed to build bulk, but is definitely designed to keep you flexible and toned, it might be for you,” Williams said.

The library plans to fully participate in the Brooks Hill Fair at the Brooks Hill Community Center July 22.

“We are raffling off our sunflower quilt,” Williams said. “It is a community-designed and executed – a hand-quilted quilt, and it’s full size, so about 66-by-78,” Williams said. “We’ll also be selling snow cones, pepperoni rolls, DIY plush toys and homebaked goods there at the fair. All the money we make at the fair will go right back into our programming.”

After school starts, the library plans to arrange another glowstick party and in the fall, they are hoping to work with the Selbyville Volunteer Fire Department to do a haunted story walk and hayride again.

“Of course, we’ll have our community trick-or-treat here Oct. 31 and then after that in November, we’ll have our Monopoly Festival on Saturday the 19th and then in December, we are looking at the Children’s Santa Workshop program, tentatively on Saturday, Dec. 3, and then the Christmas at Curry Festival of Lights is scheduled for Dec. 9 and 10,” Williams said.

Williams said she has always felt supported by the Upshur County Commission and the county administrators.

“Ever since I started here in 2014, I have never seen the commissioners as anything other than totally invested and supportive of our continued success out here, so I don’t think there’s any nefarious financing going on or anything like that,” Williams said. “The county commissioners from 2014 forward – and same with the county administrators, Carrie and Megan before Carrie, and Tabatha – have all been highly supportive and actively involved in what we’ve got going on out here and invested in our continued success for programs in this end of the county.”

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