Norris has always had a library, even before it was officially a town. TVA officially opened a library on April 10, 1934. It was located in the Community Building and held 4,500 books. A TVA employee, Mr. R. Russell Munn, was the first librarian. For a piece of history, please click here for Mr. Munn's article in the September 15, 1935 edition of the Library Journal.
In 1936, the library was moved to the Norris High School (now the Middle School). Since the school already had a library, the High School was doubly blessed, with one library for the community and one for the students. Mrs. James Goulden became the librarian for the Community Library until 1954, when Mrs. Richard Niehoff took her place. On July 1, 1948, TVA cancelled its contract with the Library Board. The library remained in the High School until 1954, when it was moved back to the Community Building. 57 people from the community of Norris pitched in to make the transition and on September the 15, 1954, the library reopened. Mrs. Gordon Colborn took over the job as librarian in 1955. Others who served as librarian before 1960 are Mrs. Justice Miracle and Mrs. Ralph Popejoy.
Mrs. Betty Anne Jolly served as librarian for 22 years, from 1960 to 1982. For the latter years of her service, the library was in a state of flux. In 1978, the library lost 3,500 books due to fire when the Community Building burned to the ground. Mrs. Jolly and a crew of volunteers saved as much as they could, and re-opened the library which was housed in a trailer until 1983 when the new Community Building was completed. When Mrs. Jolly retired, Mrs. Susan Forbes took her position for a year. Mrs. Jolly couldn't stay away, however, and returned until her health prevented her from continuing. Mrs. Marion Mariner held the position as librarian for 2 years after Mrs. Jolly left.
In December of 1994, Misty Yeager assumed the role of Director of the Library. She expanded and relocated the library to its current location in the McNeely Municipal Building, a move that would not have been possible without the generosity of the citizens of Norris and the surrounding communities. Eager volunteers were mustered to move everything into the new building, officially christened the "Betty Anne Jolly Norris Community Library" in 1999.
The current Director of the Library is Ms. Melanie Paquette, who has held the position since 1999. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and of Tennessee Technological University, from which she earned a Masters Degree in Education.
Today the library contains more than 20,000 items, including books, videos, and magazines. There is a new Computer and Reference Room for public use, which contains four online computers. The patrons now have access to information from all over the world and if they can't find what they want on the shelf or on the computers, the librarians can contact the Tennessee Resource Center for further assistance.
Modern libraries are living, breathing, changing and growing. The Norris Library has been evolving and will continue to do so in the future. We thank Norris and the surrounding communities for their unending support and patronage throughout the years.