History Of The Library
In 1909, the Milverton Public Library was built at 27 Main Street S in Milverton with funding from the Carnegie Foundation. It's history however, dates back several years prior. Donald C. Munro, who, at the time was a principal of the two room school in town, teamed up with local citizens to form a Literacy and Debating Society.
Four years later, in 1894, they had a total of $400 in the treasury. A Mechanic's Institute was needed in the village, so a special meeting was held in Appel's Hall (now the parking lot of the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union). With the permission of the Department of Education a library was started.
Those among the first administrative body were: president, James Torrance; vice-president, G. E. Goodhand; secretary, Malcolm MacBeth; treasurer, Arthur Reddaway; an executive committee of W. D. Weir, William Appel, W. K. Loth, Dr. James Cattermole, Dr. William Egbert, and David Smith. The appointed librarian was Fred. W. Guenther.
What is now known as the Bank of Commerce used to be a store where the purchased books for the library were stored. After one year, the reading room with daily papers from Toronto and Stratford was cancelled because it was not well received.
The library was originally kept up by public subscription, and after a few years it was added to the tax rate. In 1897, the council took over and a board of management was appointed. The library moved to the Honderich Furniture store (now Carter's Variety) and the new librarian was Norman Honderich.
In 1898 Malcolm MacBeth became the librarian and everything was moved to the office of the Milverton Sun, located over the Burton Block (now the Health Nut).
Reeve Conrad Hasenpflug suggested to council the idea of applying to the Carnegie Library Foundation for a grant to build a library. Andrew Carnegie had been generous enough to donate millions of dollars for the advancement of learning, which included building several libraries throughout the United States and Canada. The council was given $7000 for the building itself, and another $500 for furnishings. S. J. Russell, Stratford, was the architect, Henry Reis construction foreman, and Louis Schmidt in charge of stone and brick work. J. C. Grosch installed the acetelyne lighting.
On June 10, 1910 the building was open and ready for business. From 1911 to 1970, there were several librarians that came and went. These librarians were: Mrs. W. M. Rosamond, Miss Laura Kerr, Mrs. Lucas, Miss Elizabeth McCourt, Mrs. Mabel Clemens, Miss Florence Rothernel, Mrs. Mary Honderich, and Mrs. Elsie Engeland.
During the 1950s, a complete renovation of the building took place. The library officially reopened on September 29th, 1954. The basement meeting room was Council Chambers until Council moved to its current location in the Old Municipal Building (now the New Municipal Building).
In the spring of 2006, the Perth East Public library was pleased to receive $25,000 from the Ontario trillium foundation to assist with renovations to the lower level of the library. The Trillium Foundation's donation allowed the downstairs rooms to be repaired, painted, carpeted, and furnished for ongoing use as a children's library. The Children's library officially opened on October 21, 2006. In addition to traditional library book circulation, the children's Library offers families a friendly space where they can share books and toys, play educational games on computers, and child-sized furniture to make the space easier for youngsters to use. We have also been able to expand the number of programs offered to children so that we now have programs available during the day, evenings, and on weekends for children ages 0 up to 12 years of age. New programs starting November 2006 include a Homework Club and a Chess Club.
In 2010, the Township of Perth East received Infrastructure Stimulus Funding from the federal and provincial governments to build a new, fully accessible library at 19 Mill Street East in Milverton (the site of the old Milverton Arena). The $1.2 million construction process provided almost double the space of the old Library on Main Street and included a separate room for programming and more space for the collection. The old library at 27 Main Street South was sold to a private individual. The new library opened on October 18, 2010.
Everyone is welcome-come and visit our new spot!
The library is stocked with a variety of materials for every age. Main operating funds comes from the Ministry of Culture and Recreation, and from the Township of Perth East.
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