Today's Paper Coronavirus Updates Weather Latest Obits HER Jobs Classifieds Newsletters Puzzles Circulars
story.lead_photo.caption The inside of Hempstead County Library is seen on Tuesday in Hope, Ark. Construction for the new library began in July 2017 and the library had its opening day in February 2019. Photo by Hunt Mercier / Texarkana Gazette.

The story of the late Milton and Mary Campbell reads like a nonfiction book in the Hempstead County Library in Hope, Ark.

Through their estate, the couple donated $1.4 million to the library.

The couple had prepared a will before they died and created a revocable trust, said Hempstead County Library Director Courtney McNiel.

For several years, the Hempstead County Library Board of Commissioners had been planning to build a new facility due to the deterioration of the current building.

The Campbells left money to another organization and several heirs. The Hempstead County Library was given $1.4 million," McNeil said.

A bulldozer works on removing old soil for the construction of a second parking lot at the Hempstead County Library on Tuesday in Hope, Ark. Construction for the new library began in July 2017 and the library had its opening day in February 2019.
Photo by Hunt Mercier/Texarkana Gazette.

"It took about six months for us to learn the amount of money we would be awarded. A number of heirs had to be notified before our amount could be determined. Mr. and Mrs. Campbell were simply generous people. They had given us money before and decided we could benefit from more," she said.

"They knew a new facility was on the horizon for us and wanted to help. They had a history of helping organizations," McNiel said.

"He was like so many people who went through the Depression. People who went through the depression pinched pennies very tightly. They would pay for something and wouldn't buy on credit. They saw what went on during the Depression where people didn't have a job and lost everything ," said McNiel.

The new library is an 11,999-square-foot facility. Its construction began in 2017, and its opening day was in February of this year.

"We have around 35,000 items in the library, which includes, books, audio books, DVDs and magazines. We also have an online collection. We have four public access computers, two card catalog computers, and WiFi.

"I think the library has a secure future regardless of a new facility. Many people feel that libraries are ceasing to be important. The Campbells have done a wonderful thing for Hope and Hempstead County, said McNiel.

"The Campbells were very unassuming and nice people. They didn't put on airs. They thought you were supposed to give to the communities.

Milton Campbell was an electrician in Chicago. Mary Campbell was originally from Patmos in southern Hempstead County and after Milton retired, they moved to Hope.

"He was astute investing and did most of his own investment," McNiel said.

COMMENTS - It looks like you're using Internet Explorer, which isn't compatible with our commenting system. You can join the discussion by using another browser, like Firefox or Google Chrome.
It looks like you're using Microsoft Edge. Our commenting system is more compatible with Firefox and Google Chrome.