I would like to talk about Bertha Henry, the county’s first librarian, for Women’s History Month.


I would like to talk about Bertha Henry, the county’s first librarian, for Women’s History Month.



Bertha — who came to Crestview with her mother, Lucy, as Okaloosa County's Home Demonstration agent in 1920 — started the county's 4-H clubs, according to “Crestview: The Forkland” and a history report by Flo Lembeck. She taught residents how to grow crops and was the Federated Woman's Club of Crestview's secretary when the organization started the first library.



"Bertha ... became the librarian and housed the library in her home located on Pine Avenue. Books were collected through book drives," the records state.



"An endowment by Lucy Henry (Bertha’s Mother) allowed the library to move to the Episcopal Church. The library was named the Lucy Henry Library. Mrs. Henry was blind; therefore, Bertha took on the librarian functions of lending the books and keeping records.



More than 700 people borrowed books one year, according to records. This past year, more than 147,000 people visited the library and checked out more than 188,000 items.



Today, a portrait of Ms. Bertha hangs in the library.



Jean Lewis is the Crestview Public Library's director.