The Conway Memorial Library has reopened. After closing due to a deteriorating floor and raising over $50,000 from the community to repair it, this Library will continue to provide quality books and activities to the people of Conway for many years to come.
The Conway Library has been in operation for 2 decades, since Mrs. Cunningham’s 16-year-old daughter tragically passed away in a car accident on May 26, 2002.
“My daughter was such an avid reader,” said Mrs. Cunningham, “she had over 200 books of her own. My son, Doug, came to me one day and said he had already rented a building to create a library out of her collection. So that’s just what we did.”
After operating in the heart of town for four years by renting, local patrons of the library offered a new opportunity to expand the library and make it a permanent spot for all to enjoy.
“Along came Ralph Miller,” said Mrs. Cunningham, “he laid a check down on the table for $4,000 and said he was going to build me a permanent library. He then sold his stocks and bonds to get us over $50,000. The Bohannon family donated the land and then some labor to build. So many folks in the community either donated or gave us discounts. All of a sudden, we had a library!”
The library’s new location was, and still is, across the street from Conway Park. Though the library is often thought to be a memorial to her daughter, Mrs. Cunningham says it is for all that has been lost, making it truly a library for the people.
Mrs. Cunningham operated for years in the building. Then, the floor began to give way.
“We had to raise money again,” said Mrs. Cunningham, “We needed $50,000 to fix the floor and reopen it. It was so bad a rolling chair would roll to the back of the building if you set it in the front. Thanks to Mr. Miller’s military retirement and leftover money from being in business, we had a start. Through donations in the community, namely a $6,000 donation from the Missouri Cooperage Co. Inc, we have finally been able to get these repairs and reopen. We couldn’t have done this without the community support.”
The library reopened its doors at the beginning of July with much emotion from Ann, her fellow librarians, and the patrons.
"We are now repaired," said Mrs. Cunningham tearfully, "and I hope, God-willing, we never have to close those doors again."
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