Sue Martin McCabe  Library

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Mission Statement

It is the aim of the  Library Ministry of McCabe Library, and its ancillary units of the Kesler Room and Hewitt Tech Cove, to make available for circulation and reference, resources for all the programs of First Baptist and to enrich the lives of the member families. We wish also to  reach out to the community surrounding us with this collection of books and media carefully selected for all ages and all interests. Search and enjoy!


Welcome to First Baptist Church’s media resource center. On this page you will find information about our library, a blog roll with latest news from our library, a link to our new searchable database, and a form for contacting our Church Librarian. We believe that the Sue Martin McCabe Library, with its ancillary Kesler Young People’s Room and Frances F. Hewitt Tech Cove, is a valuable educational resource for the Church as well as the surrounding community.

This ministry is another active part of First Baptist Church’s desire to be “The Open Church” in Martinsville and Henry County. Church membership is not required for checking out books or other media from our library.

We offer a wide variety of selections for every reader. We have “seminary level” commentaries and other resource books for serious Bible students, personal devotionals, How-To and Self-Help books, sports and cook books, biographies and history books, as well as fiction for all genres.

Our children’s Kesler & Hewitt room offers non-fiction and easy reader selections for children P-K to age 12, access to a computer lab, or just a quiet place to relax and read.

The library is located to the left of the sanctuary, through the double doors, and up the steps. Please, come and visit us when things are normal again!

Interested in Volunteering at McCabe Library?

Do you love books? The library committee meets at least twice a month to design displays, pull materials for Sunday school teachers, as well as process books and media. The regular meetings are the second and fourth Wednesday of each month [occasionally moved to third and fifth Wednesday.] Come and join us for fun and learning. We’ll be delighted to help you find just the right book, help you with your phone/tablet, or just give you a tour.

Sue Martin McCabe Library History

Sue Martin McCabe Library has upward of 6,000 items and we are always weeding and adding to the collection.  We were fortunate in our beginnings that the wife of our first long-time minister was interested in reading and books. She began lending books from her husband’s church study. The library was named in her honor. Her husband was Reverend Dr. James P. McCabe who was at First Baptist for forty years! 

Later, the library was moved to its own location and run by Lola T. Kesler.  She was librarian for thirty years and paid librarian for twenty-five of those years (rare in those days).  Although Mrs. Kesler was a trained religious education minister, she attended conferences at Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina.  Over several years she took all their library courses.  During her life, Mrs. Kesler assisted and created nineteen other congregational libraries in Martinsville and Henry Country. In her honor, when the library was enlarged, the children’s division was called the Kesler Young People’s Room. After a grant from the Hewitt family, in honor of their mother, a computer lab was added to the Kesler Room – the Frances D. Hewitt Tech Cove.

Today, a committee of volunteers runs the library with one trained librarian and a lot of former school teachers.  We meet twice a month to continue the growth and mission of the library.  The library committee members design display cases, pull materials for Sunday school teachers as well as process books and media. The library maintains a well-organized children’s library to accommodate the needs of the Early Learning Center. During the year we celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday, (March 2), Children’s Book Week (in May) and hold an annual Christmas bake sale, which is open to all comers.

The Sue Martin McCabe Library has become a valuable educational resource for the church and for the community at large, offering a wide variety of selections for every reader – from the serious student of the Bible, personal devotions, biblical history to great cooking, and fiction lovers of all genres.

Library Latest News

The Kesler Children’s Library 

In the beginning, the Kesler Young People’s Room was the entire library. As the library grew, more space was needed. When the adult library was created across the hall, the older room was named for Lola T. Kesler who had been the librarian for more than 30 years. Mrs. Kesler especially loved working with children, and the new room was named in honor and remembrance of her. It is the aim of the Kesler Room  to be a relaxed, fun place for children to gather and venture into the world of literature, creativity, learning. The library staff provides fun activities for children, such as celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday in March and Children’s Book Week in May. 

The Hewitt Tech Cove

The Hewitt family grant was given “to bring the children’s library into the 21st Century.” Since upgrading the space with needed technology, lessons have been incorporated into Early Learning Center curriculum with the four-year-olds coming to the Tech Cove for classes on the six computers. The children learn the parts of a computer, control of the mouse, and  basic keyboard work. The computers are loaded with programs especially designed for preschool children. These games are such fun that even older children and adults enjoy them in addition to being educational! 

Church Librarian

Dottie Lewis

Dorothy Goodman Lewis, better known to everyone as Dottie, has been a member of this church since she was nine years old. Baptized by the renowned Dr. James P. McCabe, she grew up with the equally renowned Dr. Chevis F. Horne.

Her pre-professional life began after she graduated from Westhampton College of the University of Richmond. After being a classroom teacher for several years and retiring to have a family, she returned to school at Old Dominion University to become a school librarian. When she and her husband came back to Martinsville upon his retirement from the Navy, they picked up life at First Baptist.

For years, Dottie worked with then-librarian, Lola T. Kesler, who served the church for over 30 years. When the beloved Mrs. Kesler passed away, Dottie became librarian. Over her 45 years working in libraries, Dottie has been active in many professional library associations – most recently with the former Church and Synagogue Library Assoc. and currently with the Virginia Church Library Assoc. She has taught many workshops on library skills, served on boards of these organizations, and mentored many librarians and would-be-librarians. Over the last couple of years, she and the library staff have converted the more than 6000 items in the McCabe Library to a digital database.

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