Friday, June 10, 2011


The Arcanum Public Library board would like to announce the library’s 100th Anniversary Celebration to be held on Sunday, June 12, 2011 at the library. The library is located at 101 West North Street in Arcanum. The event will be from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. with a special program beginning at 2:30 p.m. Guest speakers will include JoAnne Hill and Phil Garbig, along with members of the board and staff. The invocation will be presented by Dan Kuhbander and the Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Brownie Troop #32018. Special thanks also go to Bill Gunder for all of his valuable knowledge about the library’s history, the Criterion Club for their many years of support, as well as the Arcanum Wayne Trail Historical Society.

The library is located in the beautiful, Ivester House, which has had two additions, but been able to retain its classic character. While the building has the charm of a former era, it is looking to the future with the complete upgrade of the library’s computer system. In the very near future, the library will have new computers for the enjoyment of the patrons, and you may have already noticed the new monitors. The board greatly appreciates all of the donations that have been made by the community towards this project.

For those of you that have enjoyed the library during the past 100 years, we encourage you to join us during this special occasion to celebrate what we’ve accomplished. We look forward to another 100 great years of service to the surrounding community.

To give you a brief history about how the library has progressed in Arcanum, the library opened in Arcanum on January 25, 1911 in a room rented over Smith's store at $4 per month with a collection of 450 books & several periodicals and members paid 50 cents per year. After some struggles to remain open, in 1913 the Board of Education took over the library so it became a school district library. We are still a school district library, which means that the Arcanum School Board is the library's taxing authority and appoints our board members. During its first 25 years the library had been in 3 locations for need of more space or the site was rented to a business. It closed twice during that time for lack of funds. The Criterion Club came to the library's aid several times with fundraisers.

The 4th location was in the Weisenbarger building. There was a feeling of loss at the time of the 1959 fire but, once again the Criterion Club came to the library's aid by organizing a fund raising drive. Marj Heyduck often wrote in her newspaper column about the library's tragedy. Donations of books poured in from all over as a result. After that, the Kincaid home became the library's 5th location, where the library reopened after approximately six months. After more than three years of discussion and preparation, the Ivester House, became its 6th location in 1964. Marj Heyduck was the guest speaker at the dedication. Over the years patrons have reminisced how it was a special treat to come to Ivy Ester Tavern, one of the former building tenants, for ice cream in the large dining room.

In 1966, the board had the 2nd floor renovated and several years after moving to the beautiful Ivester House, the library once again outgrew its space. Archie Hanes left a bequest in his will to the library which made it possible to expand the library by building an addition to the back of the house which became the children's room. This was a huge improvement over the very small enclosed side porch on the east side of the house. The addition was completed & opened to the public late 1980.

Ten years later, it was determined that more space would be needed. The 1994-95 addition and renovation about doubled the size of the library. The move was made possible by the participation of many community members. Human chains were one of the major tools in moving materials into the addition.

In 1998, the library automated the card catalog system in order to better locate and circulate materials. But it wasn’t the first time the library had computers, because as early as 1983, the library made available 2 Apple computers which were purchased for use by the staff and patrons. Now the library is about ready to install new computers for the patrons and staff to upgrade the whole. If you have your own laptop, you can also use the library’s wireless access to complete your on-line needs.

Now, the library has grown to about 65,000 items including books, periodicals, books & music on CDs, puzzles, puppets, microfilm, DVDs & videos, and most importantly, free membership .

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