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Worthington-Jefferson Township Public Library - Library History

History of the Worthington Jefferson Township Public Library

The first public library in Worthington was organized in 1912, in the brick building since occupied by Jim's Barber Shop. According to law, the people of Worthington subscribed $320 by popular subscription as a nucleus with which to start the library. It was made open to every person in the town of Worthington and Jefferson Township. The tax rate was levied for .01 for each $100. The first week in June 1913 was set aside for the book shower and formal opening, and 282 books were donated. 250 books were loaned during the first month. The library hours were from 2:30 to 5:30 in the afternoon and 7:00 to 8:30 in the evening. During the next two years, new furniture, lamps, shelving, and other improvements were added as was possible. As there were no funds for an assistant librarian, Mrs. Scott, librarian, had a training class of high school girls to help her with the work for two years, for which they received high school credit.
A new Carnegie building was planned in October, 1916. Funds were solicited to pay for a lot in the Owen-Herald addition. Andrew Carnegie gave $10,000 for the construction of the library building. The cornerstone of the new Carnegie building was laid in October, 1917. The contractors, James. M. Dyer & Son, worked under the disadvantages of a late start and an early and severe winter. But the work was done well and especially praised by the architect. Mr. Dyer also put in stone window sills, for which the plans did not call. It was Mr. Dyer's gift to the town. In the spring of 1918, with the help of the training class and the Wolf Patrol of the Boy Scouts, the library was moved into the new building. "The Boy Scouts came, with carts and wheel barrows, and hauled the 3,000 volumes. They did their work with perfect willingness and great care" (The Worthington Times, 1918).
During the First World War the library aided the American Library Association and training camps as much as possible, though funds were limited. The library was closed for three months during the influenza epidemic of 1918.In 1924, due to a mistake of the County Auditor there were no funds coming in from the town. By reducing expenses to the minimum, the library operated without borrowing any money. Donations were received from lodges and clubs. Books were donated and many were borrowed from the Indiana State Library. By September 1925 there was a total of 5,000 books in the library. In November 1926 an assistant librarian was hired due to an increase in circulation. The first attempt to catalog the collection was undertaken in 1927 by Miss Roxanne Smith the assistant librarian. The library has continued to grow ever since.
In October of 2001, work began on an addition to and remodeling of the existing Carnegie building. The library received money from the Lilly Endowment and also from a private foundation, the Aileen S. Andrew Foundation. The new addition and remodeled building was opened in July 2002.

Historic Article and Photographs

Newspaper Article on the Worthington Sycamore (PDF)

Sycamore Photograph 1 (PDF)

Sycamore Photograph 2 (PDF)

Sycamore Photograph 3 (PDF)


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