Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy Birthday to Greensburg’s Carnegie Library!

Mayor A. M. Willoughby's hopes for a public library in Greensburg became a reality in 1901 when Andrew Carnegie donated $15,000 for start-up funding. 

Postcard from the library's collection
In May 1902, the site of the old W. A. Watson foundry on N. Michigan Ave. was chosen. The library opened its doors on January 25, 1905 under the leadership of Librarian Bessie Montfort. A writer for the Greensburg Standard wrote:
"All who have played an active part in bringing about the existence of this public library have conscientiously endeavored to make it wholly creditable to the one who generously gave it, hoping that it may prove a blessing to our beautiful little city for all time to come."
The Carnegie Library's first books had this bookplate inside the front cover.
Books checked out for 14 days with one renewal, and fines were 2 cents per day.
The library eventually outgrew the Carnegie building and moved to the current building at 1110 E. Main Street in 1994. The original neoclassical library has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Greensburg's Carnegie Library today




Check out the following books to learn more about the man behind Greensburg's first library:

Sources
Fischer, Suzanne. Decatur County Interim Report. Indianapolis: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 1999.
"Greensburg's New Carnegie Library," Greensburg Standard, 21 August 1903.

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