History of the Greenville Public Library1889
The first library in Greenville came about due to a growing need for students to have a good selection of books to help them with their studies. Professor F. Gillman Cromer, Superintendent of schools, was responsible for raising the money needed. A pageant was held at Martin Trainor's Opera House on West Third Street (later known as State Theatre). With a total of $75.00 raised, the Free School Library was opened in the old East School.
History of the Greenville Public Library1892
Businessman Frank M. McWhinney donated a room in his brick business located on Fifth Street across from Christian Tabernacle, which is now the Wayne Theatre, to house the library.
History of the Greenville Public Library1894
Free School Library had again outgrown itself. Henry St. Clair, seeing the need for reference services, offered to furnish and maintain one for the public. Later he donated his own reference collection. The Board of Education levied a 1/10-mill levy to maintain the library.
History of the Greenville Public Library1901
A commission sought aid from Mr. Andrew Carnegie. Mr. Carnegie furnished $15,000 for building construction if the city would provide the site and a minimum $2,000 per year for up-keep. An additional $10,000 was requested from Mr. Carnegie. The architect was W.S. Kaugman from Richmond, Indiana. Mr. Dennis Dwyer was the contractor. The cornerstone was laid by the Grandmaster of Masons of the state of Ohio, on October 30, 1901. Placed inside the cornerstone were the following:
- A history of the library
- Correspondence of Andrew Carnegie and the Greenville Board of Education regarding the new building
- Resolutions of the Greenville Board of Education and the Greenville City Council providing for support of the library
- A list containing the names of President Theodore Roosevelt and his Cabinet and the presiding officers of the U.S. Senate and House
- A list of state officials and boards of the City of Greenville
- The Greenville Board of Education, its committees, officers and teachers of the schools
- A list of Darke County officials
- A list of Masonic officials
- An account of the assassination of President William McKinley and his last address
- Copies of the eight newspapers being printed in Greenville at that time (Greenville Journal, Greenville Democrat, Daily Advocate, Daily Tribune, Democratic Advocate, Weekly Tribune, Deutsche Umschau, Greenville Courier)
- A copy of the report of the city school, the librarian's report and a copy of the cornerstone ceremony
It was a grand ceremony with the Dayton Soldiers Home Band leading a procession around town. A feature of the Carnegie Library was the basement, which was turned into a museum. The Katzenberger collection of implements, firearms, coins and curios was donated to the library in 1901 and accepted by Frazer E. Wilson. Other collections followed. Charles Katzenberger volunteered as the museum's curator.
History of the Greenville Public Library1903
March 19, the building was dedicated.
Funding for the construction was as follows:
- $25,000 donated by Andrew Carnegie
- $3,610 donated by Henry St. Clair
- $7,175 donated by School board
- $35,785 total donations
St. Clair also donated the furnishings and statuary of the St. Clair reference room (the reference collection was estimated to be worth $10,000).
Several days before the opening ceremony for the library, area students stood in a line stretching from the McWhinney building up the new sidewalks of the new library. They passed the books from the shelves in one building to the shelves in the new. Miss Lucy Arnold, librarian, had the honor of carrying in the first book, the Bible.
History of the Greenville Public Library1905
Charles Katzenberger and two members of the board of trustees brought back a priceless collection of firearms and military relics of St. Clair and Wayne armies from Fort Recovery. There were also many paintings and documents on display in the museum.
History of the Greenville Public Library1914
The museum occupied three large rooms and the hall in the basement. There were over 3,000 separate articles exhibited in 40 cases.
History of the Greenville Public Library1946
Running out of space to put the numerous books added to the library over years, it was decided that the museum would be moved to the old Garst Home, which had been donated by the Garst heirs for that purpose. All of the Carnegie Library's collection was moved to the Garst Home.
History of the Greenville Public Library1972
The Carnegie Public Library changed its name to Greenville Public Library.
History of the Greenville Public Library1980
Greenville Public Library (Carnegie Library) and the Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall were added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 26. The criteria: both buildings are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; both embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction, or represent the work of a master, possess high artistic values, or represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction.
History of the Greenville Public Library1989
After an elevator was installed, the upstairs attic was renovated into the office area.
History of the Greenville Public Library1990
Renovations to the attic area were finally finished and plans were made for the renovation of the old office area located in the lower level.
History of the Greenville Public Library1991
The old office area was opened up to make room for the large print books and recordings. The large print books were eventually moved back up to the main floor and the extra space was used for all of the audio-visuals. The Genealogy Department was moved into the back room downstairs, which used to be the coal bin for the furnace room. The computers were also placed in the downstairs area for public use.
History of the Greenville Public Library1994
The main floor was redone by taking out the lowered ceiling panels and restoring the ceilings to their original look. Carpeting was put down in three of the rooms and wood panels were added to the ends of the metal shelves.
History of the Greenville Public Library1995
A computer was added to the Reference Room to help bring the library into the modern days. The computer allowed access to the Internet, and also CD-ROM programs such as phone directories and encyclopedias. At this time, staff members were converting the card files to computer to get the library ready for automation. A videotape cleaner was purchased by the Friends of the Library to be used to clean the library's tapes and check them for defects.
History of the Greenville Public Library1996
The library completes automation and shuts down for a week in June to allow the staff, board members and volunteers to place the barcodes on all of the materials.
History of the Greenville Public Library1997
The library designates the lower level desk as the Circulation area and the main floor desk as a full-time Reference area. Two more computers are added in the Reference Room to access the Internet along with two of the Online Card Catalog serving as backup computers for Internet.
History of the Greenville Public Library1998
A book drop was attached to the lower level entrance to allow patrons to return material when the library was closed. The Friends of the Library purchased a laminating machine to cover library books and also materials brought in by the public.
History of the Greenville Public Library1999
Three more computers were added to the Reference Room to accommodate the increasing demand for access to the Internet.
History of the Greenville Public Library2006
The library upgrades to a new windows based electronic catalog, POLARIS. Preparations for the renovations began.
History of the Greenville Public Library2007
The library moved to the Old Biddlestone building so that renovations and the construction of the east and west wings could begin.
History of the Greenville Public Library2008
In June the library was moved into the newly renovated location at 520 Sycamore. Addition of 10 new patron computers, 4 new childrens computers and the replacement of the old reference desk all soon followed.
History of the Greenville Public Library2009
The library's budget was cut almost 30% as the state struggled to alocate funds to public service departments. Greenville Public Library saw shorter hours of operation along with cut-backs to materials and staff.
History of the Greenville Public Library2011
The community supported a 1 mil levy to last 5 years allowing the library to supplement its state funds and restore business hours and previous levels of materials purchasing.
History of the Greenville Public Library2012
Greenville Public Library updated the computer lab to allow patrons to sign themselves in using their library cards. The library also saw some much needed upgrades to its security systems.
History of the Greenville Public Library2016
The community supported a permanent continuation to the 2011 1 mil levy, preserving current and future library functions. The library endowment fund was also created to aid preservation of the library’s building and maintenance needs in the coming years.
History of the Greenville Public Library
Hover over the years listed on the right to see how the Greenville Public Library has grown since 1889.
For a more detailed look at our recent past, check out our archived newsletters.