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Magness Community House & Library
Opens Southern Heritage Room

by Joyce Dixon


One of the best ways to build a strong appreciation of a region’s past as well as celebrate it’s culture, is to create a center for research and study.  In McMinnville, Tennessee (about 80 miles east of Nashville), the Southern Heritage Room has recently opened in the Magness Community House and Library. 

Alabama author and newspaper feature writer Gay Martin was present for the dedication on May 9, 2002.  Martin discussed and signed copies of Alabama: Off the Beaten Path (Globe Pequot Press, 2002) and Louisiana: Off the Beaten Path (Globe Pequot Press, 2002). During May, an exhibit of Franklin, Tennessee artist Marvin Stalnaker was on display in the Southern Heritage Room and the library’s main floor.  Stalnaker’s art depicts life in the South during the mid-to-late 1800s and early 1900s, with an emphasis on the Civil War era.

Mary Robbins, Magness Community House and Library Manager, says that a strong emphasis of the Southern Heritage Room will be programming.  The activities include: booksignings, classes, exhibits, forums, lectures, music and tours. 

In June, an exhibit of Nashville photographer Aubrey Watson outdoor photography will be on display.  Starting in July and running several weeks, will be a video showing of the American Civil War, by Dr. Michael Gallager of the University of Virginia. Alabama novelist Charlotte Miller will visit on July 21st at 6:30 pm, to speak on and sign her book trilogy: Behold, This Dreamer (NewSouth Books, 2001), Through a Glass, Darkly (NewSouth Books, 2001), and There is a River (NewSouth Books, 2002). 

“A Mysterious Summer,” the adult summer reading program, begins on July 8th and will focus on mysteries by Southern writers as well as mysteries with Southern settings.  Silver Dagger Mysteries authors to appear include: Patrick Bone (July 9th), Laura Young (July 15th), Amy Talford (July 20th), and David Hunter (July 24th).

“Our Southern Heritage Room collections are small, right now, but growing,” said Robbins.  “We were pleased to receive a grant from the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development’s Heritage & Community Development Division to promote this new department of the Magness Library and are seeking other grants to develop collections, programs and services.  We are also seeking financial contributions as well as books and subscriptions to magazines and newspapers, etc.”

The Southern Heritage Room houses collections of both fiction and non-fiction books, newspapers and periodicals, audio tapes and videos.  Later this year, a computer will also be added to allow patrons to access information from CD-ROMs.

Author and Knoxville (TN) News-Sentinel columnist, Sam Venable signing copies of Mountain Hands: A Portrait of Southern Appalachia (Univ. of TN Press, 2000) and Rock-Elephant: A Story of Friendship and Fishing (Univ. of TN Press, 2002) as part of the Southern Heritage Room program.

The Magness Community House and Library
118 W. Main Street
McMinnville, TN  37110
For more information or to make contributions, contact Mary Robbins at: 
931-473-2428 (phone)
931-473-6778 (fax)
Magness Memorial Library web site:
Library Hours:
Monday 8AM - 8PM
Tuesday 9AM - 8PM
Wednesday 9AM - 5PM
Thursday 9AM - 5PM
Friday 9PM - 5PM
Saturday 8AM -2PM
Sunday Closed

© 2002  Joyce Dixon, All Rights Reserved