Thursday, January 26, 2012

This Month's Library News (a Century Ago)

As part of our 100th anniversary celebration during 2012, we will be looking back a century to see what library news was breaking in Mooresville, Indiana.

The proverbial ball was rolling in January, 1912, as concerned citizens were circulating petitions for signature demonstrating public support for construction of a new public library in Mooresville.  This public push began in October, 1911.  The Friends Aid Society met at the home of Mrs. George Carter to campaign for a new facility. On December 12, 1911, a meeting was held at F. E. Carlisle's furniture store with representatives of local organizations, including the Likely Literary Club, Bay View Club, several churches, the Board of Education, and the school superintendent, A. C. Payne. Carrie E. Scott, librarian and a representative of the Public Library Commission, presided. Enthusiastic support prompted a public meeting on December 18, 1911 at the Methodist Episcopal (M.E.) Church, which is now the Mooresville Town Government Center. Jacob Dunn, president of the Public Library Commission, and library board members from Plainfield and Martinsville encouraged Mooresville's efforts to reestablish its library.  By January, 1912, efforts were well under way to garner public support in town and surrounding Brown Township in Morgan County.

1912 view of West Main Street (looking west from the intersection
with Indiana Street) in downtown Mooresville, Indiana.
The new library would be built on the right,
where the second stand of trees is visible
(Click images to enlarge photos)

In the photo above, the word bank was traced in ink on the sign above the entrance to Farmers State Bank.  To see additional photos of downtown Mooresville during this time period, click here and here and here and here.  For yet more history about downtown, just browse this blog's archives.

In January and February, 1912, officials of the town government began searching for prospective sites for the new library.  Stay tuned to learn some of the surprising possible locations that were initially selected, and the resultant public furor that shaped the final decisions.

McCracken Hotel & Restaurant (1912)

Here's a teaser:  The eventual library locale was directly across from this popular restaurant.

Want to take a walking tour of downtown Mooresville?  Probably not in January, but here's some information, anyway.  Watch our local history trailer, too.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One Hundred Years of Public Library Services

This year (2012) marks the 100th anniversary of the citizens (and government) of the Town of Mooresville, Indiana, organizing a library board and authorizing a tax levy toward construction of a new public library.  There had been intermittent library service during the 19th century, with a local lending library first established in 1855.  But the first municipal effort toward establishing a permanent, ongoing public library began in May, 1912, with passage of the levy and creation of the library board.

Mooresville citizens began to rally for a public library in October, 1911, but it took several months of meetings and displays of public support to entice the Board of Town Trustees to institute fundraising through taxation.  Taxes were no more popular a hundred years ago than now, and so it took some effort to garner widespread support from Mooresville residents.

The Library will be celebrating throughout 2012, and our patrons, of course, will be invited to participate. We have enjoyed a century of library service to our community, and we look forward to another century.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Redemption After the "War to End All Wars"

Opposites may attract in electro-magnetism and certain other physics phenomena, but like attracts like in the world of wandering souls.  Such is the premise of the novel The Keeper of the Bees, by Gene Stratton-Porter.  It is a story of crushed spirits (courtesy of the atrocities of World War I, for the main character) in search of healing and redemption.

This was Hoosier author Stratton-Porter's final novel, which was published posthumously in 1925. Stratton-Porter (1863-1924) probably wasn't expecting this to be her last published work, but it is a fine example of her naturalist writing, with plenty of her moral and ethical perspective infused in the text to satisfy fans. It is a magnificently crafted, superbly written tale of the restorative powers of the human spirit. Once again, her descriptive capabilities, which were typical of her other novels, were the distinctive feature of the story and were unsurpassed here.

Do we have the title available in our online Evergreen Indiana catalog? Naturally. (Get it? Stratton-Porter was a naturalist, so, naturally . . .)