Brief History of the Library

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The Alexandria Public Library originated in 1892 with 300 books housed in a room in the Alexandria Bank building. It was moved in 1898 to a room in the Central School basement, and then moved again in 1899 to the I.O.O.F. Building over the old post office on West Church Street.

In 1898, Indiana passed a charter which allowed communities to tax citizens for library services. The first library board to serve under the new charter included Mrs. Ralph Bertsche, Mrs. Mort Miller, Robert H. Hannah, Mrs. Will McNairy, F. G. Keller, J. Challen Smith, and C. F. Lyon.

The board immediately began plans for a permanent structure, and after months of correspondence, steel magnate Andrew Carnegie made a gift of $12,000 to establish a permanent public library.

Carnegie’s gift came with two stipulations: the city must furnish the lot and supply $1,200 for annual maintenance (10% the cost of the building). The contract was rewarded to John E. Barnes and Sons Co. of Logansport for $11,575 with an additional $250 for shelving. Wing and Mahurin of Ft. Wayne were the architects.

In 1986 the library was expanded to encompass all of Monroe Township. To meet growing demand architects from K. R. Montgomery & Associates were engaged to plan a building expansion and renovation in 1989.

In recent years, the library has refocused its efforts by expanding programming and outreach to all ages, investing in all types of technology, committing to resource sharing through membership in Evergreen Indiana, the Evergreen Indiana Digital Consortium, the Statewide Reciprocal Borrowing Covenant, and the Northern Indiana Computer Consortium for Libraries (NICCL). The library has also reinvested massively in developing our collections in order to enrich, educate, and entertain our community. These efforts are paying off as the library continues to set records in circulation each year.