The 30th Anniversary of the William Bond Library on The Webb School campus was celebrated with a reception in the library following the April 21 Board of Trustees meeting. More than 50 guests attended, including trustees, alumni, faculty, staff, former faculty and staff and friends.
Head of School Ken Cheeseman, Former Librarian Sandy Sanders, Library Director Hannah Little, Board of Trustees Chairman Emeritus Vance Berry '72
Former Faculty and Staff Members Sandi Jobe Puett '95, Lucy Phillips, L.R. Smith, Sandy Sanders, Ralph Jones, Ron Smith, Bill Abernathy '72, Lee Woosley '78
Webb Head of School Ken Cheeseman welcomed guests to “our beloved school and this hallowed hall, Bond Library, that remains the hub of life at Webb. As most of you know, The William Bond Library, named for William W. Bond, Webb Class of 1903, was formally dedicated on Feb. 5, 1993. -- just a little more than 30 years ago. William Bond Jr., of the class of 1938, whose gift to Webb School of more than $1,000,000 made this library building possible.”
Bill Abernathy '72, Head of School Ken Cheeseman
Board of Trustees Chair Farrar Schaeffer Vaughan '95, Trustee Liza Palmer Gipson '99
Cheeseman related, “During my interview as head of school, I was immediately drawn to this space, the look, the feel, the ambience, and, of course, its contents. Since my days as a young boy, I loved books; I loved the feel of a book in my hand and the smell of the book, and, of course, the ideas and stories contained in them. In part, this inspired me to become an English literature major at the University of Virginia.” He added, “This is a place of comfort and inspiration, and I am glad to have access to it every day.”
Trustees Keith Barton '75, Gwen Jones Owen '75
Former Alumni & Development Director Lucy Phillips, Trustee Chase Spurlock '05
Cheeseman noted that Jon Frere, former Webb head of school, said at the dedication of the library in 1993, "Judge Bond studied under Sawney Webb and was acutely aware of Sawney's love for books. When Sawney started his school, he spent most of his money on books and not buildings. Strother Simpson, Judge Bond, and their classmates had the vision to build a building to house all the books that Sawney had bought. In 1927, the Class of 1903 erected the John Webb Library. It is fitting that Judge Bond's son would build the school's second library."
Trustee Webb Follin III '73, Alumni Board Vice President Libby Willis '80
To further explain what Mr. Frere suggested – Cheeseman included a quote from 1970s historian Glenn Holliman: “In 1886, the Webb brothers moved their school from Culleoka to Bell Buckle, Tennessee. They had $12,000 to invest in education. Of their original investment, they spent $8,000 on books.”
The head of school remarked that while many independent schools have transformed their libraries into cyber cafés, The Webb School remains committed to a library filled with books and comfortable spaces to sit and enjoy a good story.
“Good libraries need good librarians, and we have one of the best,” Cheeseman said of Hannah Little, ‘matriarch of the library’. She has an uncanny way of creating a culture within our library that perpetually welcomes all students and faculty and allows for both a low hum of activity and enough quiet to get lost in a good book. I don’t know how she achieves this rare combination, but she does.”
Alumni & Development Director Leigh Adams
Also welcoming those attending and introducing herself as Webb’s new Alumni and Development director, Leigh Adams said, “This is an exciting time for Webb -- having recently celebrated 150 years of the school’s history while simultaneously looking ahead at the next 150 years. The Bond Library is a perfect representation of one individual’s recognition of Webb’s foundational values, and his vision and investment in the school’s future. I would say that the return on that investment has been extraordinary.” She added, “Thank each one of you for everything you do to support the Webb community. You each play a critical role in ensuring Webb is successful in fulfilling its mission.”
Little used a quote in her remarks to the guests. “My favorite quote from “The Library Book” by Susan Orlean is unusual. But as a librarian, I completely understand the sentiment. After spending a day with a public library director, the author made this comment to herself,
‘it occurred to me that the large part of a city librarian's job is to be a property manager.’ It is my great pleasure to manage such a beautiful property at The Webb School — The William Bond Library. Our library is more than this beautiful building, and it is more than the well-kept collection. It is an educational program and a group of professionals working with young people to teach information literacy and defend intellectual freedom throughout The Webb School community.”
“A 1930s Webb librarian David McQuiddy wrote: "Today, more than ever before, the purpose of an education should be 'to teach one to read' and to read intelligently. But reading intelligently implies more than correct literary tastes. [It] implies the ability to consult the correct sources of reliable information."
Little added, “Our 1930s librarian was concerned in his time with teaching students about skills for determining reliable sources. Almost 100 years later, we are teaching those same critical-thinking skills. So, I thank you all for your investment in this literary sanctuary! And I thank you for the investment that you made in the future of Webb and its students.”