Galien Township Public Library

History

Shortly after Galien Township was organized in the 1840’s there was a Township Library. We know this because we have in the library the book that was used by the librarian at that time, a Mr. Samuel Schleigh. The date of this book was June 20, 1848. The records dated March 26, 1850 show there was $24.69 in their treasury. The amount of money was small but the idea was large and kept growing in Galien. As near as can be determined by the records, the first libraries were just a space set aside in people’s homes. At one time it was located in the old schoolhouse, another time in the Doyle hotel, and once in a back room of the Blakeslee grocery store. In 1939 the township gave the library board permission to have the library in the town hall.

In 1949 plans were made for a new building to house the library. This was to be on the site where the old schoolhouse stood. Mrs. Emma Keen was very instrumental in getting a library for the town. The Keens helped financially and also got others to donate money. One of the biggest donors was Dr. Stanley Clark of South Bend Indiana. He had formerly resided in Galien.

The dedication of the new library took place on August 15th, 1954. Since that date we have progressed steadily. In the summer of 2007 we began the process of doubling our space. Plans were made to build a new addition to the already existing building. It was completed and an open house held in the spring of 2008. The original library remains, as does the original entryway. The addition extends across the south end of the building. Much effort was made to blend the old with the new. Original brick can be accenting the inner walls of the addition, as well as original light fixtures. The red brick exterior was matched so well that it is hard to tell where the old stops and the new starts.

This addition has given the library much needed space for a larger and more user-friendly computer work area. It also gave us a main floor conference room that is open for use by the public. We have over 1300 cardholders and over 30,000 items in our collection. We participate in MelCat Interlibrary loan, which allows us to borrow books from other libraries for our patrons. We are very proud of our library in our small cozy town and welcome everyone to stop in to appreciate us and enjoy the results of all the hard work and support of our community, all past and present Board members who have given freely of their time and energy, and all of the far-seeing Librarians who helped to shape our library into what it is today.