Sunday, April 15, 2012

MPL in the 1970s: More Renovation, Reaching Out, and Tight Quarters

More renovations opened the 1970s at MPL, as massive growth in collections required reorganization of various spaces in the Library.  In 1972 the Pioneer Room in the basement was renovated to accommodate more volumes in the children's collection and update the look and feel of the "young persons' area."

The most significant service development during the 1970s, however, was the introduction of community outreach programs.  Previously, the Library had focused upon the community visiting the Carnegie building to meet its informational needs, attend programs, or conduct organizational or public meetings.  Now, MPL wanted to reach out to the community to extend Library services to those who, for whatever reasons, were not coming inside the Library.  Thus, librarians began attending offsite organizational meetings to promote its collections, programs, or other services.  Book talks continued at local schools--MPL had pioneered these in the early 1950s--and efforts were made to reach elderly or home-bound patrons who wished to read books or obtain other materials from the Library.  Librarian and MPL Director Bonita Marley wanted local residents to think of the Library not just as a place to go but also as a caring hand extended to the citizens of Mooresville and Brown Township.

Carnegie Library Bursting At the Seams (Feb. 1978)

As the 1970s waned, however, it became evident that the Library itself needed more than mere renovations and outreach services.  Collections had grown well past the Carnegie building's capacity.  The Library needed space, and lots of it--more than was available in the 1916 structure--and so the institution that had served its public so well for 66 years now needed the support of townspeople and township residents if it were going to continue its mission.

Bonita Marley (MPL Director/Librarian) and
Wanda Potts (MPL Ass't. Director/Indiana Room Librarian)
(Feb. 1978)

So began the Library's quest for a new building.  In 1978 the Library Board met with town and township officials to discuss possible future courses of action.  Then, and now, there were competing needs for local governmental tax dollars, and consequently the evaluating and planning processes took much longer than in 1912-1916, when the Carnegie building was constructed.  In fact, it took a decade of strategizing before Mooresville would see its new Library.  But the initial steps began in 1978, which eventually led to a modern facility that continues to serve the citizens of our community.

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