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Black Valley Public Library - "Smallest in the USA"

Learn more about Black Valley Public Library - "Smallest in the USA".

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Commonly referred to as "The smallest library in the USA," this 6' x 5' building, opened on August 1, 1956 with 75 books. It was a project of two Black Valley residents, May McGlothin, a Coalfield school teacher, and Dot Owens who had a love for books.

Over time, popularity grew thanks to John Rice Irwin, then superintendent of the Anderson County Board of Education (later founder of the Museum of Appalachia) and local TV reporter Gene Patterson. Eventually, a story appeared in The National Inquirer.

Almost immediately following this article, Dot received a call from the David Letterman Show, asking her to appear. She decided she did not want to appear, and her daughter jokingly suggested that her mother should let the Letterman Show know she would just wait on Johnny Carson. A few weeks later, a call from the Carson Show was received and Dot traveled to Burbank and appeared with Johnny Carson. She received a courtesy check for $200.00; and with that began the bank account to build a new library in Coalfield.

In 2006, the “little library” as it has come to be called, was moved to the grounds of the new library, where it sits today. There is a commemorative sign outside, and the sign on the door tells us that “the door is never locked,” just as it has been for all of its history.

The "one of a kind" point if interest is located just 10 miles from Oak Ridge on Hwy 62 toward Wartburg.

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Black Valley Public Library - "Smallest in the USA"

112 Jerry Jones Road
Coalfield, TN 37719

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