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Library service came to Bryson City in 1929 when Mrs. Marianna Black, a local community leader, began circulating books to townspeople out of two old suitcases. The following year, the library moved into the jury room of the old Swain County Courthouse. By asking friends and well wishers for monetary donations, Marianna Black was able to increase the size of the collection to 2,000 volumes. By 1935, the collection was well used as circulation increased to about 8,000 to 10,000 books annually.

In 1938, the Works Progress Administration built a stone community building on the Bryson City square, and space in it was allotted for the library, which officially became known as the Marianna Black Library. In 1944, the library became a member of the Fontana Regional Library system.

In the 1960’s, with the library under the direction of Anna Lou Casada, a fundraising drive was started to build a new library.  Groundbreaking ceremonies were held November 20, 1969 and a little less than a year later the new library was completed. Dr. Ellen Black Winston, daughter of Marianna and Stanley Black, continued to support  the library,  leaving an endowment to provide needed funding into the future for library improvements and operation.

To read a biographical essay on the life of Marianna Black wriitten by her grandson, Stanley W. Black III, click here (pdf)
 

Here is a short mock Newsreel video created by the staff at the Marianna Black Library dramatizing the library of Mrs. Black and the early history of library services in Bryson City.