Switzerland County Public Library celebrated their 100th anniversary on Saturday, July 29, 2017. The history of the library, as posted on their website:
“The Switzerland County Public Library was legally formed in 1915, after the state library law was passed, and it has its roots in many of the local literary societies which donated the first books, including the Methodist Church Lyceum, the Vevay Literary Society, the Julia L. Dumont Club, and the Working Men’s Institute.
The first library was located on the south side of Main Street, in a building owned by Mrs. Abner Dufour. She rented the facility to the library for $7 per month, partially furnished. The ladies of the library board were expected to be responsible for cleaning and decorating their new library. In 1917, the library board asked the county commissioners to make the library open and free to all taxpaying citizens of Switzerland County, making it the first countywide library system in the state of Indiana.
On November 13, 1917, the library received a letter from the Carnegie Corporation, informing them that the town of Vevay and Switzerland County would receive a sum of $12,500 for a new library building. A vacant lot on Ferry Street was purchased from Mrs. A .P. Dufour for $1000, and a contract to build the library was given to the Dunlap Company for $10,975. The new library building was completed and opened to the public on January 27, 1919. This was the last Carnegie library built in Indiana, and one of the last in the United States. Dr. L. H. Bear was the first person to obtain a library card, and Will H. Stevens was the first person to check out a book.
In 1991, the library and the Town of Vevay exchanged deeds, and in 1992, the former Carnegie library became the Town Hall and police station, and the new library opened across the street, in the former Market Square Park, at a cost of approximately $492,000. The money for the new building was granted by the Vevay/Switzerland foundation.”
The event was packed with fun programs throughout the day. Juggler Paul O. Kelly made an appearance from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Happy Hooves Petting Zoo was in the library’s yard from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., musical group West of Dublin played in the library from 12-1 p.m. and Dan Bixler entertained the crowd with stories and music from 1:30-2:30 p.m. The event also included refreshments and an appearance from Lois Rosenberger, former director from 1969-1977 and 1979-1995. Louis was at the library when the current library building was built in 1992!
Happy anniversary, Switzerland County Public Library!
This blog post was written by Courtney Allison, southeast regional coordinator, Indiana State Library. For more information, email Courtney at email@example.com.