Library Friends welcome author

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 5, 2004

DEMOPOLIS – August will serve as a homecoming for local author William Cobb as the Friends of the Library recognize him during its membership party.

Director of the Demopolis Public Library Lindsy Gardner said over the past decade, the Friends of the Library group has been very instrumental in the progress of the Demopolis Public Library.

In 1996, the Friends provided seed money for the Gwyndolyn Collins Turner Reading Room.

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“This room houses our genealogy resources and serves as a quiet, comfortable place for researchers to work,” Gardner said.

In 1998, the Friends of the Library actively assisted with the Gates Foundation Grant and helped to host Bill and Melinda Gates on their visit to Demopolis. Since then, the Friends have purchased needed software for library computers, sponsored numerous Summer Reading Programs and presented speakers and programs for library patrons.

In celebration of the achievements of the Friends of the Library, the group will hold its annual membership party at the Demopolis Public Library, Monday, Aug. 9 from 7 to 9 pm.

Special guests for the party are Loretta and William Cobb, authors and professors at the University of Montevallo.

Loretta Cobb is Founder and Director Emeritus of The Harbert Writing Center at the University of Montevallo. A graduate with honors from the University of Montevallo and Bread Loaf School of English in Vermont, she has written corporate histories and profiles for Contemporary Novelists, published academic essays and poetry and edited several published books.

She often writes for The Birmingham News and is the author of The Ocean Was Salt, a collection of short stories.

Loretta and William Cobb have been married since 1965.

William Cobb, a native of Demopolis, attended Livingston State College and Vanderbilt University.

He has had a lengthy career as teacher and writer-in-residence at the University of Montevallo.

Cobb has published six books of fiction and has had three plays produced off-off Broadway.

His novel, A Walk Through Fire (1992) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Mr. Cobb is most recently the subject, along with Jim Haskins, of a documentary for Alabama Public Television.

A film crew and producers will be taping footage for the documentary at the Friends of the Library membership party.

Producer/Director at the University of Alabama’s Center for Public Television and Radio Wendy Bruce said the documentary would focus on the long-term friendship between Jim Haskins and Cobb.

“The library is such an important part of the author’s life,” Bruce said, “This is a story about a boyhood friendship that’s lasted over many, many years.”

Memberships for the Friends of the Library begin at $10 for a single membership and $25 for a family membership. To join or for more information, call 289-1595 or visit the Demopolis Public Library, 211 E. Washington Street.