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
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.