LOWELL LIBRARY HISTORY
From the "Lowell Public Library Dedication Ceremony" booklet, Nov. 7, 1993:
In 1904, the Lowell area had a small subscription library of 500 books. Members paid dues and borrowed books free of charge.
The Lowell Library was organized in 1917 and consisted of two small rooms housed on the second floor of Lizzie Davis' hat shop.
The Lowell "Public" Library (one that is supported in whole or in part by local taxation) became a reality in 1920 through the hard work of local residents and a large donation from the Carnegie Corporation. The new (one-and-a-half story) library was typical of Carnegie construction.
Located in the "Town Square," it contained 4,000 square feet and by the late 1960's had become severely overcrowded.
August 12, 1968, marked the date for the groundbreaking of the new 9,600 square foot library on the corner of Fremont and Main Streets. The site was designed for twenty-eight parking spaces. Opening on December 8, 1969, in many ways the building served the community well for almost twenty-five years.
As the area grew (54% between 1970 and 1990) and circulation of materials increased (135% from 1985-1992), workspace for library staff began to take up more and more public reading room area.
Additional shelving was installed to accommodate the increasing book collection and more tables were needed for audio-visual materials and computers. Comfortable seating areas for library patrons and room for a growing collection were no longer possible. Surveys of the community determined a need for even more materials, programs, and services than the library could handle at its present facility.
In 1987, a Long-Range Planning Committee (made up of the library board, staff, community business persons, and area residents) was formed to plot the course for the library's future. One of the objectives cited in their report was to analyze building needs.
Over the next three years, alternative studies were conducted to determine the cost and feasibility of expanding the existing building. When all the results were in, it was decided that if an addition were built at its present location, the library would still lack parking space and would be landlocked should further expansion be needed. The planning for a new library began.
Directors of the Lowell Public Library
||Beginning Year as Director
|Mary L. Davis
|Persis Petry Stealy
|J. Michael Furl
|Barbara Zink Berkey
The following Lowell Tribune article appeared on March 4, 1992:
Horses Help Harvest Trees
Sometimes it's better not to tinker with success. The old-fashioned way may just be best, the Lowell Library found out last week.
Planning for a new library on a wooded site on E. Commercial Ave., the library asked State Forester Harold Brunner to inspect the stock of grown trees on the property. Brunner marked about 50 of the 300 trees that should be harvested for their wood, taking into consideration their age, location and condition.
A Valparaiso lumber company, A.W. White, was the successful bidder for the trees, but they didn't bring any fancy new equipment to the site.
Instead, the loggers used chain saws to fell the trees, some more than two feet in diameter, and invited 'Dick' and 'Red' to help them stack the tree trunks for removal from the grounds.
'Dick' and 'Red' are a pair of Belgian draft horses that were raised as work horses. Last week, Neil Hyndman spent several days on the Lowell site with his wagon and the team of horses, moving the felled trees into a stack.
"We are harvesting some red oak, white oak. . . to be sawed into grade lumber for furniture and wood pallets," explaining Hyndman.
He said the horses took to the hob easily, even though it was 'Red's' first job. "They were born for this kind of work," noted Hyndman as he guided them through the woods. "It works out just fine."
Construction on the new library is scheduled to begin June 1.
Last updated on August 22, 2011.
See also Lowell Carnegie Library
Go to Lowell Public Library, "Pioneer History Index," for further information.
Return to Lowell History