A library in Kings Mountain began as a vision from a young couple, Haywood and Elizabeth Lynch, who moved to the area in 1935 and bought the local newspaper. Coming from a large city where cultural activities provided learning opportunities and escape from the realities of the Depression, the Lynches began a campaign to get a library for the mill town they now called home. Haywood wrote articles in his newspaper championing the cause of a public library, and soon members of the community, including the Mauneys and the Neislers, had joined the efforts.
A year later, in 1936, a library opened in a room donated by Dr. J.E. Anthony over Keeter’s Store. It contained only donated books, and the first book donated was The Life of Will Rogers given by Mr. J.P. Davis. In 1937, the library moved to the basement of City Hall with the city allocation $300 for the library in its budget. The library still grew largely from donations and from book purchases made by Haywood Lynch and Joe Mauney at inexpensive Belk and J.C. Penney book sales in Shelby. The town’s first librarian was Mrs. Bertie Hughes Campbell, and her salary was paid with a WPA grant.
It soon became apparent that the library needed a building. Liz Lynch and Ann Neisler went door to door soliciting funds for the building, with almost everyone giving something. In 1947, the children of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob S. Mauney decided to buy the Hord mansion and donate it to the City in memory of their parents as a home for the library. It was a fitting memorial to the couple who had been so actively involved in the education and betterment of Kings Mountain.
At first, the library occupied the front two rooms of the house, while the upstairs was used as a teacherage. The teacherage was a home for unmarried teachers who moved to the Kings Mountain area. Rent money from the teacherage was used to pay the librarian’s salary and buy books. During Mrs. Charles Dilling’s twenty-two year tenure as librarian, the library was expanded into four rooms of the house and the teacherage was discontinued. The upstairs floor was then converted to apartments, and in the 1970’s building codes forced the closure of the apartments.
Hazel Fryer became the librarian in 1976, and the library was enlarged to include two junior rooms. She also opened the Carolina Room for genealogical materials. In 1981, Mary Jane Carbo was hired, giving the library its first professional librarian. In 1983, Rose Turner was appointed the librarian. In 1987, the library underwent a expansion which added the Carolina room, an auditorium, and enlarged the nonfiction area. The upstairs rooms were renovated into office space.
The library expanded once again in 2000 when the Harris Children’s Wing was added. Named for state senator, Ollie Harris, the Children’s Wing resulted from a need to accommodate a growing number of children’s programs put on by the library, such as story times and the Summer Reading program.
Sharon Stack was appointed director in 2004 and served till 2018. In 2019, Rose Turner returned as director with support from assistant director Christina Martin and youth services coordinator Anne Gamble. In 2021, Christina Martin was appointed director. The Hord Mansion section of the library is currently being restored for the 100th birthday of this community icon. The two additions are also receiving renovations leading up to 2023.
The library is a full service, awarding winning library that provides services to Kings Mountain citizens. The library offers programs for children, teens and adults, print and electronic collections and free technology services ranging from wireless access throughout the building, full service computers, classes for learning and much more. Partnerships and collaboration with community agencies, such as the KM Historical Museum and Southern Arts Society, has expanded the depth of services offered to Kings Mountain citizens.
Thanks to the hard work of the many through the years, the citizens of Kings Mountain have a full-service library of which they can be proud!
Mauney Memorial Library is housed in the Hord mansion, which was built in the early 1920s by Dr. J.G. Hord. It was the first building in town designed by an architect. Two years were required to build the house. After its completion, Mrs. Hord was known to have beautiful roses and flowers in formal gardens on the property. The Hord family was large and social. The house offered a great vantage point from which to watch President Hoover’s 1930 ride through town, which one of the Hord daughters remembers doing. Dr. Hord did not live long after moving in to the house. In 1947, the Mauney children bought the house and gave it to the City of Kings Mountain in memory of their parents as a place for the town’s library. In 2014, the library building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Jacob Mauney was born on April 6, 1846 near Cherryville. At age 17, he enlisted in the 72nd Regiment of North Carolina to fight for the Confederacy during the Civil War, and served through the remainder of the war. On September 11, 1873, he married Margaret Juletta Rudisill of Lincoln County, and they relocated to the area that was to become Kings Mountain. Jacob opened a general merchandise store with his brother, W. Andrew Mauney. As the railroad was completed through Kings Mountain, the town grew. He became closely associated with the banking, mercantile, and manufacturing industries in town, as well as being a proponent of educational, religious, and civic growth. The Mauneys were active members of St. Matthews Lutheran Church, endowing a scholarship and largely funding a dormitory at Lenoir-Rhyne College. He died November 6, 1936.
Mrs. Mauney was born January 26, 1850 and led a busy and active life. She was passionate about helping those in need and worked for the growth of Kings Mountain, especially through bettering the schools. She was known around town as the “best known and most loved woman of Kings Mountain.” She died on January 27, 1930.
Welcome to Our Library
In the early years of the library, while it also served as a teacherage, Vera Mauney Cooper composed the following welcome to the teachers living the rooms above the library. It reads: