Library History

OPL19152The first library in Orleans began in 1910 thanks to the efforts of Stella Glover and Claire Stewart (Young). The ladies solicited $1.00 donations from local citizens for the purchase of books for a lending library. By the fall of that year, they had placed several books on the shelves in the Kress Furniture Store in downtown Orleans. Due to the popularity of readily available books, it became apparent that the town needed not only a more extensive collection of books, but a greater variety of subject matter, and a place to house it all. Efforts soon began to seek a permanent location. In the meantime, the Village Improvement Society arranged for a room in the Orleans Academy on Congress Square to be used as a library and reading room.

The first Library Board was appointed in 1913 and soon filed an application with the Carnegie Library Foundation for a grant to construct a permanent home. The Foundation gifted the community with $10,000 for the purpose of establishing a library building. Ground selected to accommodate the new construction was from the community’s Sulphur Well Park, and the brick edifice was to face westward.

By October 15, 1915, the new library was completed and ready for its dedication. One thousand volumes awaited readers on the shelves at the new Library, many of which were made possible through donations.

Following Misses Glover and Stewart in service were Eva Worrell Fidler, Rowena Compton, Ruby Jenkins, Mabel Wallace Walker, Rose Taggart, Mary Glover, Vivian Carnes, Ruth Hall, Marilyn Montgomery, Louise Gugel, Rosalie Allen and current director Deborah Stone.

Today, the library is centered on being a center of lifelong learning, a cultural resource, a place where the past, present and future mesh together to form a unique and awesome experience of the mind, the heart, and the human spirit.  The library is currently considering an expansion to the original facility that will include an elevator, computer lab, meeting rooms and repairs to the existing building.