The public library in Byhalia was established in 1940, and renamed the Ruth B. French library in 1990 in honor of a teacher and library board member. The library was relocated in 2003.
In one of my alternate lifestyle fantasies, I would open a little coffee house/bookstore/Internet station in this charming little building, and while I was busy blogging about preservation in Mississippi and New Deal research, I would chat with my one or two patrons of the day, and the high school student I hired to serve coffee (and lattes) would become my mentee as I passed on a love for history and the importance of community and relationship. My friend Gigi would drop in for working vacations from time to time (she has always wanted to own a bookstore) and give guest lectures on recent books she had read, and her husband, the executive chef, would surprise patrons with his wonderful culinary creations. During their visits, patronage would double or maybe even triple to 8 or 10 folks--just the perfect size for a group!