I could paraphrase the newspaper articles, but there's something charming about reading accounts contemporaneous to the events described. So please click the images below to read the original stories. If the newspaper clippings appear too small (even after enlarging), then right-click them and select "open link in new tab." You may then go to View on your web browser's menu bar and select "Zoom" (a value of 200% or 400% should suffice).
The Carnegie Library was a showcase of Mooresvillian civic pride. The structure sat 40 feet north of the front of an 80-ft.-by-153-ft. lot. The 56 ft.-by-36-ft. building was constructed in an Elizabethan architectural style. The exterior was vitrified fire clay brick (four shades of tan) inlaid using dark brown mortar, with stone trim and twin gables. The original roof was tile.
The Carnegie Library employed a steam heating system and, of course, no air conditioning, which didn't generally exist in 1916 (although American scientists had experimented with A/C as early as the mid-19th century). Interior lighting was semi-indirect, meaning that some were overhanging lights while others were recessed behind wall plating.
The reading room consisted of three adult tables, three children's tables, and two reference tables (for librarians' use). The basement included an auditorium with a seating capacity of 300, which could be utilized by local organizations and school groups for meetings, programs, and events. It was the forerunner of today's MPL Bonita Marley Community Room. In addition, the basement was equipped with a complete kitchenette.
The 4,000 square foot facility initially provided shelving for 6,000 books, which was subsequently increased (during the 1920s) to 8,300 volume capacity. The library's initial collection featured 1,143 books, or less than half the number of volumes currently contained within the MPL Indiana Room (2012). But acquisitions steadily increased, so that, by 1937, the Library housed 8,400 books and had 2,245 borrowers. By 1936, the Library's annual circulation of books was 20,250.
Quick quiz! How many items does MPL currently have in its various collections? Take a wild guess. Well, let's check the latest inventory report. As of this very minute, MPL has 86,232 items in its collections. Were you close? I'd have wagered around 90,000, but then I have access to the reports.