Bill and Alice Hart discuss the history and evolution of their library

Bill and Alice Hart talk about how they started their collection and developed it over 55 years, and how for them their library is “a living entity. It’s full of stories, there’s connections to the authors here, there are major historical themes. Some books have intrinsic value just in terms of who they belonged to, or something that is tucked inside them, but they all have meaning.”

To build their collection they worked closely with book dealers with Asheville and elsewhere to build their collection. Nancy Brown at the Book Mart was Bill’s mentor on collecting books about Western North Carolina. The Harts also worked with Chan and Megan Gordon at the Captain’s Bookshelf to develop the collection.

Bill notes how how the Great Smokies were a major influence on both of them as they grew up in Western North Carolina, how they wanted to know more about the region they both came from, and how Alice used the library as a teacher. Bill also talks about how the library was designed and built.

This video was filmed in the Hart’s personal library prior to donating the collection to UNC Asheville’s Special Collections. The books in the Bill and Alice Hart Collection are shelved in the same order as in the Hart’s marvelous personal library.