Town of Bell Public Library

The Town of Bell Library is located at:

1130 S. Main Street
Bell, Florida
Phone: (352) 463-0043

History of a Dream

On November 2, 1996 a dream was realized with the opening of Bell Library. A group of former educators knew that small children and students did not have books available for their use. Families living in the northern part of the county who wanted to visit a library had to drive all the way to the Trenton Library.

The group of former educators was led by Mrs. Shirley Frey, Jean daCosta, and Mrs. Iris Roberts in establishing the Bell Library. The goal was to open a children's library. The Town of Bell made available the former office of the Town Council which was adjacent to the Bell Post Office. Bookcases, chairs, and tables were located in storage at Trenton and were moved into front room of this space. The donations were fantastic, within a few weeks there were enough books donated to fill the shelves.

Donations included books for adults as well as for children. The back room was set up with more shelves to accommodate the adult books. Fritz Brown, Shirley Anderson, and Dr. Grace Vaught joined the volunteer staff shortly after the library opened. The volunteers kept busy carding books, keeping up with donations, and welcoming the public. The Dewey Decimal System was used to catalogue all the nonfiction books by subject. When the Post Office move to their new location, the library moved into their vacated space and used their previous space, which had a separate entrance, for storage and for story time during the summer. Businesses and individuals support the required renovation and were recognized with a plague mounted on the wall during the Grand Opening. Judge Edward Philman spoke of the progress of the volunteers and County commissioners extended their congratulations. A Wal-Mart representative presented the library with two new computers and email became available for the patrons' use.

As donations continued, a section designated as large print books was established as well as another for classical editions. Other sections include fiction, videos, DVD’s, books on tape, nonfiction, westerns, inspirational, and biographies.

In 2006, the Town replaced the roof which required the building to close during the renovations. An interior passage way was constructed enabling convenient access to all areas of the library. Additional computers and online computer access were installed.

The Bell Library Volunteers are working in support of the Bell Imagination Library, founded by Bell Town Manager Dan Cavanah in 2007. Bell Imagination Library is an affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and serves all children from birth to five year old living in the 32619 zip code area. All enrolled children receive a free book each month until their fifth birthday. The book selection and administrative cost are provided by the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and the book and mailing cost are paid by Dan Cavanah. Enrollment forms are available at the Bell Library or Bell Town Hall.

The Bell Library has always operated completely as a volunteer establishment. Those dedicated individuals, too numerous to name, have given of their time and efforts to keep the library operating since 1996. Volunteers currently serving the library include Mary Hagan - President, Betsy Clark - Vice-President, Jan Roworth - Secretary, Shirley Anderson - Treasure, Carol Murray - Children's Programs, Betty Ramey - Purchaser, Joe and Grace Vaught, Carol Sessler, Maria Hernandez, Art Hagan, Etta Stewart, Virginia Geiger, Rahma Mkuu, Elaine Nemeth, and Donna Tooke. Bell Town Council and the Gilchrist County Commission are to be thanked for all their loyal support over the years. Without them the Library could not have survived.