Library History


Sam Mann


Annie B. Proctor


Alice Harrison

Forrest City Public Library was established in 1921 when a group of local women, known as the Community Service Circle, gathered together a total of five hundred donated books. Unfortunately, this first library was forced to close after a couple of years due to a lack of funding.

The library re-opened in 1927, thanks to the efforts of Mr. Sam Mann, a prominent local judge and attorney. Mr. Mann offered a donation of five hundred dollars per year for five years to purchase new books, but only if the city would pay a librarian and utilities. The library moved to its new home at 421 S. Washington Street in April of 1939 at a cost of $25,000.

One notable mention is Mrs. Annie B. Proctor, who served as librarian from 1931 until her semi-retirement in 1958. Mrs. Proctor had a pet project called "The Arkansas Collection," which included over 1300 separate listings, all claiming a portion of Arkansas History. There are some rare volumes, some under lock and key, but all available to library patrons.

The governing body of the library has been a rotation list of civic-minded patrons. This group of people make up the Board of Trustees. Perhaps the most-noted board member was Mrs. Alice Harrison, grand-daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Sam Mann. Mrs. Harrison served as treasurer on the library board for thirty-five years.

Today, the library is open over forty hours per week. The original 1939 building is still in use, though there is now some 4,200 square feet of space.