CLARKSVILLE AREA LIBRARY

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HISTORY

SARANAC PUBLIC LIBRARY & CLARKSVILLE AREA LIBRARY

 

December 15, 1936 a committee from the Saranac Ladies’ Literary Club and the Saranac Woman’s Club met to plan how to achieve a public library for their town without any funds.  The committee was increased to include representatives from the Village Board, the Businessmen’s Association, the Ministerial group and the School Faculty.

At this time the W.P.A. (Works Progress Administration) was operating in Ionia County and they agreed to pay the Librarian’s salary on the condition that utilities would be paid. The Village Board agreed to furnish their utilities.  The Library opened in 1937. 

Boston Township, in which Saranac is located, made a donation at that time to the library. It has continued to give financial help. The surrounding townships combined with the village made it possible to qualify for State Aid for libraries. The first State Aid check was received in December 1938 and the library continues to receive this aid.  The first librarian was Lottie Huhn who continued in that capacity until 1962.

In 1946, a building to be used as a library was presented by Miss Lua Crawford, a Saranac citizen and school teacher, in memory of her father and mother, Stephen M. and Flora B. Crawford.

Lottie Huhn retired in 1962.  For a short time Evelyn Jepson, her assistant served as librarian.  Shirley Bartlett joined the library as librarian in 1963.

During the early 1970’s an organization called Lakeland Library Federation was formed and Saranac became a member along with 50 other libraries.

Mrs. Patricia Zander was hired in 1979 and later became Library Director.  Mrs. Emily Laird was hired in 1981 to fill the librarian’s vacancy. 

A group of Clarksville businessmen approached the library about starting a library in Clarksville.  Chip Livingston of Clarksville led the negotiations to form a library.  In the fall of 1991 a branch library was opened in Clarksville, supported by the Village of Clarksville.  The library is to be known as the Clarksville Area Library.

The two libraries service areas include all of Boston and Campbell Townships, the South one half of Keene Township, and West one-half of Berlin Township, this amounts to over 10,100 persons.

In 1999, Ionia County passed a one-mill tax to support the libraries in the county. The millage is collected and distributed in lieu of voluntary contributions from the townships.  This millage allows the library to operate on a known amount of revenue.

Also at this time the county libraries formed an association called Ionia County Library Association, representing Lake Odessa, Belding, Lyons, Ionia and Saranac. ICLA meets periodically to discuss common goals and problems confronting the libraries.

On March 1, 2002 Patricia Zander retired as Library Director.  Sherri Rasmus was appointed as Acting Director.  On October 1, 2003 Sherri Rasmus and Mike Platte became Co-Directors of the Library.  In 2014 Sherri Rasmus retired and Kerry Fountain was appointed Library Director.

Many changes were made to the library over the years.  In 2013 an adjacent building was purchased and renovated that served as a tech room and meeting room.  In the year 2017 a new building in Clarksville was purchased and renovated to serve as a new location for the Clarksville Area Library.