Rural Librarian: A Present Day Sketch of Harman, WV

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Present Day Sketch of Harman, WV

No history today. Just a little sketch of current day Harman, WV, population around 100 or so. Located about 2,360 feet up in the Dry Fork Valley of Randolph County, West Virginia, many may see Harman as a sleepy town that is on the way to Canaan Valley, Seneca Rocks, Timberline, or Snowshoe. And we do get quite a few tourists passing through.

For tourists and locals, the Pioneer Memorial Public Library offers a clean restroom, four public computers with DSL and free wifi. Our collection of about 11,000 books includes traditional books, magazines, DVDs, books on CD, and books on a portable MP3 player called PlayAways. We can also help you with directions. GPS is not very reliable here so we have maps on hand to help bewildered travelers.

Now that school is back in session we get some students from the Harman School (K-12) that come over at lunch or after school to check out the books or use the computer. Later in the school year we will have pre-school and elementary school students that come over for story time and for library lessons. (aka How To Use a Library.) With about 185 students Harman School is probably one of the last schools in the US with a combined K-12 population. Last year the graduating class was less than 20 students.

And believe it or not we have a very active reading community here with a couple of patrons who have almost literally read everything of interest to them in our library. For those folks we offer an Inter-Library Loan service. For about $2.50 we can have a book shipped from the libraries within our consortium of libraries. And as part of that group we loan out books all over the state including other libraries and to the prison system as well.

We have a huge interest in genealogy in our neck of the woods. Last month a regular patron came in a photocopied several copies of a genealogy that we have archived in the library. It took the better part of the day and many reams of paper to make several copies of one family's genealogical record. (And did I mention that our photocopier is an amazing work horse?!) We have a fairly extensive genealogy library of specific family lines that have been generously donated over the years for future generations. We also have will records and marriage records for various years and counties, including Pendleton County, as Randolph County was once part of Pendleton.

The Senior Center is perhaps the community hub of Harman, WV. I went over there for lunch a few weeks back to introduce myself around and to take a new collection of books from the library. Every month or so we try to rotate a group of books into the Senior Center that may appeal to that audience. This month I included "West Virginia Curiosities" by Rick Steelhammer and "If You Ask Me (& of Course You Won't)" by Betty White.

I have heard that spaghetti day at the Senior Center is so popular that people come from all over the county to have lunch. I look forward to taking a turn visiting with the shut-ins who get a hot lunch delivered to their door every week day by the Senior Center van and a volunteer.

And finally, a physical description of the library: Nestled in the Dry Fork Valley and the nearby Horsecamp Run, our little library is surrounded by the beautiful Allegheny Mountains and pumped full of fresh air. Our tiny parking lot holds about 5 cars, and the library is within walking distance of the post office, the Grant County Bank and Cooper's Country Store, in beautiful downtown Harman, West Virginia.

Stop by when you are out our way and check out the Pioneer Memorial Public Library.</>

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