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McDonald County Library Adds Zella Mae Collie’s Reading Room

McDonald County Library names Reading Room after Zella Mae Collie, who started the McDonald County Library system. by Alexus Underwood/Special to McDonald County Press | May 12, 2022 at 8:36 a.m.
PHOTO PROVIDED BY HAZEL SHEETS. The McDonald County Reading Room is now "Zella Mae Collie's Reading Room." Pieces of Collie's personal collection can be found in the room.

PINEVILLE -- The McDonald County Library renamed the Reading Room to "Zella Mae Collie's Reading Room" as a dedication to Zella Mae Collie, who started the McDonald County Library system in the 1940s.

Hazel Sheets, director of the McDonald County Library, held a room dedication celebration on April 11, inviting speakers and serving refreshments to celebrate the renaming of the room.

"The Zella Mae Collie Reading Room dedication was completed with a wonderful presentation from Kenny Underwood that was a pleasure to listen to," Sheets said. "Patrons also enjoyed a beautiful cake from Mains Sweets Bakery."

Sheets said Collie started the county bookmobile on December 8, 1947, and was a librarian in the county for 30 years.

"It was the Reading Room to begin with, but it's very particular to Zella Mae because we have a lot of her collection from when she was a librarian here that we weren't sure what to do with," Sheets said. "We decided to throw our reference books in that room and a lot of our Confederate Civil War books in that room, a lot of stuff that she collected, so it's significant to her in that way."

Sheets said anyone can use Zella Mae Collie's Reading Room and can reserve the room for a meeting or workshop space.

"Her dedication to the library stands out," Sheets said. "When they did the bookmobile in 1947, they made 63 stops across the county. It was the biggest distribution of library books to library patrons, and she was on every single bookmobile ride. And that was for nearly 30 years."

Sheets said the McDonald County Library in Pineville is the only library in the county that has a room dedicated to the 95-year-old Zella Mae Collie.

  photo  PHOTO PROVIDED BY HAZEL SHEETS. Plaque in McDonald County Library honoring Collie's 30 years of service. Zella Mae Collie's Reading Room can be used and reserved during the week.

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