The "Big Room" as the boys called the main building, cost twenty-two hundred dollars, and the "Senior Room," in which the library, was four hundred. In this way, he showed the strength of his conviction that books, as the tools of culture and learning, were more important in education than fine buildings, and the act was characteristic of the man. He [Sawney Webb] could have built a plant of some pretensions with twelve thousand dollars in the state of Tennessee of that day, but he believed good books to be more essential, and in this, as in everything, he had "the courage of his convictions." As he believed, so he acted. His brother and co-worker, the learned and scholarly John M. Webb, who was affectionately known to his students as "Old Johnny," took great interest in the library thus acquired. The majority of the books in it in his day were of his selection and reflected his excellent literary tastes, deep learning, and wide range of interests. The "Senior Room," in which they were housed, was his classroom and he taught surrounded by the books he loved, which were themselves testimonials to his scholarly attainments. (McQuiddy 1931)
The John Webb Library [1927-1992]
The John Webb Library
From the article "The Webb School Library"
The ground was broken for the new building in the spring of 1927, and it was completed in time for dedicatory exercises at commencement in 1928, when a reception for the class of 1903 was held in honor of the event. Shortly afterward, the books were removed from the structure which had sheltered them for over forty years and placed in the new building's they were cataloged according to the Dewey decimal system by Miss Alla Webb' who was a trained librarian, and the Library of Congress card service was installed.
Continued - From the article "The Webb School Library"
Thus the excellence of books was matched by the excellence of equipment to facilitate their use. The building, which is forty-two by sixty-three feet in dimensions, is of matching brick and stone construction roofed with red tile. Its proportions are pleasing to the eye and architecturally correct. Seen from the entrance of the school grounds across the athletic field, at the end of a vista framed by two magnificent oaks, it is a thing of beauty, a building that would add much to any campus.
Continued - From the article "The Webb School Library"
'The central feature of tire main floor is a large reading room with fifty seating capacity. The four walls are lined with bookshelves, and the usual library appurtenances are in the room. There is a complete card catalog with subject headings similar to those of large libraries, a charging desk, and a dictionary stand beside the other usual equipment. All furnishings are in light oak. The room is well lighted by four double windows and dome lights in the ceiling.
The William Bond Library [1993 - Present]
The William Bond Library
The William Bond Library, named for William W. Bond, Webb Class of 1903, was formally dedicated on February 5, 1993. Four of William Bond's children and their families attended the ceremony. William Bond, Jr., of the class of 1938, whose gift to Webb School of more than $1,000,000 made the library's building possible. Quoting Mr. Jon Frere, "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."
At the dedication, the librarian stepped up to the podium and thanked everyone, including the donor. She shared how proud she was of the results and how it included everything she had put on her list. Then she paused, and said, “except for two things.” My heart sank. What had we forgotten? Where had we gone wrong?
Then she shared those two things: “everything except a coffee shop and a phone booth.” After a moment of hushed silence, she smiled and laughed. And she admitted that they were not included because she didn’t want them in the library. As everyone laughed, I was relieved.
Little, H. B. (2022). A School Librarian's Purpose. Knowledge Quest, 51(1), 10+. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A723652199/PROF?u=tel_k_webbsl&sid=bookmark-PROF&xid=96cf0745
Howell, S. C., & Little, H. B. (2019). The Webb School Of Bell Buckle. Arcadia Publishing.
Early Webb Keepers of the books
The Founders of The Webb School of Bell Buckle
In 1886 William R. “Sawney” Webb and his brother, John, brought the school to Bell Buckle. They came with $12,000 to invest in education. Of their original investment, $8,000 was used to purchase books.
Brothers Sawney (L) and John (R) Webb pictured sitting together in 1897
"The two had made the school together, disciplinarian and scholar" John Andrew Rice
The learned and scholarly John M. Webb, who was affectionately known to his students as "Old Johnny," took great interest in the library thus acquired. The majority of the books in it in his day were of his selection and reflected his excellent literary tastes, deep learning, and wide range of interests. -- He supervised the selection of new books until his death in 1916. (McQuiddy 1931)
Son Will -- Mr. W. R. Webb, Jr.
Mr. W. R. Webb, Jr., equally as devoted as his father and uncle to the ideal of cultural education and the importance of books as equipment -- never ceased to maintain an active interest in the school library since he became connected with the school in 1897.
Alla Webb 1927
Alla Webb a trained librarian catalouged the entire collection by the
Dewey Decimal system [around 8,000 volumes]
She also implemented the first card catalog
In 1913 Alla served as secretary to her father when he went to Washington to fulfill a partial term as a Tennessee United States Senator.
David McQuiddy 1930s-40s
The McQuiddy teacher award has been awarded to teachers at the Webb School annually since 1989 for excellence in teaching. The award is named in honor of Mr. McQuiddy, a renowned librarian at The Webb School and Webb class of 1921. He wrote a history of the Library for the Tennessee Teacher
According to correspondence from Son Will, Virginia Turrentine, Webb's class of 1931, worked in the library alongside David McQuiddy beginning in 1932.
Dorothy Webb 1950s
Librarians 1955 -1982
Sadie Cleveland 1955
Helen Means 1956-60
Margaret Ordoubadian 1961-62
Robert Simmons 1964 -1967
Peggy Serenyi 1968-1969
Judy Vanderweg 1970-1971
Lynn Holliman 1972 -1980
Sandra Sanders 1982 - 2007
Worked with Trustees and Architects to plan the Bond Library
Worked with students to move the 10,000 volume plus collection to the new facility
Developed the first online catalog and the library website