212 West Cady St, Northville, MI 48167
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Library History

Library History

Library History

In 1889 the Ladies Library Association formed under the leadership of Mary E. Lapham who also donated a book nucleus of 250 volumes. Although the committee was made up entirely of women, the library was apparently seen as a place for men and boys to frequent rather than other questionable resorts.

Books were borrowed on subscription basis of $1 per year (later lowered to 50 cents) and was open about 3 afternoons per week. Jennie Babbitt was the first librarian.

The library was first housed in a building on Main Street, but had, by 1895, moved to an unused church (now at Northville’s historic Mill Race Village) on Wing Street.

In 1926 libraries began to receive township funds by act of the state legislature. Thus, the library received appropriations sufficient for operating expenses and charges for library cards were abandoned.

By the mid-1930s, the Wayne County Library Board had officially become responsible for the administration of the library and provided supervision by professional staff and regular delivery of new books and supplies.

The library won a state sales contest during the 6th War Loan Drive in 1944 and received a framed autographed letter by John Steinbeck to playwright, George Kaufman.

Due to increased costs, The city considered discontinuance of the library in 1959. One councilman favored the idea because of declining use and television. Citizen reaction, however, was in support of the library and 75 residents attending the next meeting were assured that service would continue.

In 1964 the library moved from its 70-year residence in the unused church on Wing Street and moved into the City Hall facility, although it was considered temporary and inadequate.

A Citizen’s Blue Ribbon Committee appointed by the City and Township in 1975, recommended a new library building on the west side of the park at Wing and Cady Streets. Within two years the new library was given City and Township approval but was denied a Federal grant request by the Economic Development Administration.

In 1985, the Northville Public Library joined the computer age and was pictured in the Northville Record with its new system.

After a millage defeat denied the establishment of a new library at Sheldon and Six Mile Roads, a supportive vote in 1994 made possible the building of a district library at the same location proposed in the mid-1970s. This new library opened in October, 1996.