by Kate Evans
The Paw Paw Public Library presented James Brown Norton with a plaque of appreciation on October 3 for his many years of service to the library and to the Town of Paw Paw. Norton recently retired from the Paw Paw Public Library Board of Supervisors. He has been a longtime member of the library board and served as chairman for the last several years.
Norton “has been instrumental in keeping the library on track both financially and politically,” said Paw Paw Public Library director Virginia De Francesco in an announcement of his retirement.
Norton served as a Morgan County Commissioner from 1976 to 1990 and was a councilman for the Town of Paw Paw for three or four terms. He has also been involved in the Paw Paw Alumni Association for over 42 years.
Norton said he was County Commission president when the Paw Paw Public Library addition was completed and was part of the ribbon-cutting and grand opening. He later agreed to serve on the library board.
Norton was vice-president of the Paw Paw Public Library Board of Supervisors when Jerry Kline was its president. When Kline passed away, Norton became board president and served in that capacity for three or four years.
Norton said they were always looking for available grants to get different things that the library needed. They got computers, telephone lines and high-speed internet access, with the help of Senator John D. Rockefeller. They were able to put on a roof and paint the building, too.
Norton said he’s enjoyed the library board meetings and “seeing what we could do and what we got done.”
Norton said they ran into some lean times at the Paw Paw Public Library when there wasn’t much participation. They got the children’s program going and invited people from the state to come in and do Civil War, Arts and Humanities and sports figures programs in the summer and on the weekends. Once they had a guy that played Babe Ruth. Those programs boosted library involvement.