The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update


August 22, 2010

Library started in room above bank

MIDDLETOWN, Ind. — As early as 1889, the editor of The Middletown Newsd, J.O. Lambert, stated in an editorial that the town should have a public library.

A few years later, in 1913, the school superintendent, J.A. Abell, suggested a library be financed by subscription and use the state traveling library.

Through the following years, the need for a public library was evidenced by the fact that the Methodist Church established a small library, and while downtown, Walter Becker had a small library of new books in his drugstore, which was available to the public for a $1 a year membership fee.

In 1927, a group of citizens met in the board room of Farmers State Bank, located on the southwest corner of Locust and Fifth streets. By July 1, 1928, preparations have been made for the formal opening of a library on Oct. 1, 1928 in the room above the bank. It was to be financed by the property taxpayers of the town and township, which by 1973 amounted to 20 cents for each$100 of assessed valuation for town residents and 7 cents per $100 for township residents.

A library board was established that included C.J. Pickering, Lola Strickler, Harry Burcaw and J.F. Frazier from Middletown. Thos representing Fall Creek Township were Emily Weeks and Homer Wood, both from Mechanicsburg, and Montrew Sander from Honey Creek.

Weeks had published a book about Mechanicsburg in 1907 and Mrs. C.J.(Rose) Pickering was one of the town’s early historians. Mrs. Charles (Mary) Clifton was chosen as librarian and upon her resignation was replaced by Martha R. Jones, who started in 1934 and served until retiring in 1989.

They received 400 books on loan from the     Indiana State Library, 94 books from organizations and individuals, a contribution from the Henry County Historical Society, a generous gift of books from the library in Liberty, Ind., and $300 from the Methodist Church. By December 1928, there were 1,212 books with 487 borrowers.

Currently, the library has 64,520 volumes and serves 4,811 people.

In 1931, branches were established in the Honey Creek Post Office and J.W. Goodin general store in Mechanicsburg, which were discontinued by the end of the 1940’s. The library was moved from the bank in January 1967, to the Merchants Building located on the north side of Locust St., just west of the alley between Fifth and Sixth streets, the present site of H&R Block Tax Service, 540 Locust St.

While administering the estate of Halcyon Post (widow of Byron), who died Nov. 29, 1987, with no children or beneficiaries, local Lawyer Robert F. Wisehart realized her trust could be used for educational purposes which led to the construction of a new library on the northeast corner of Eighth and High streets. The site was dedicated Oct. 29, 1989. Due to increasing number of participants, fast expansion of items for circulation, including audio books, videos, and internet service, a children’s addition was added to the east in 200.

While planning for the new 6,000 square-foot library, the governing body was reorganized leading to a true uniform tax rate for taxpayers. With expenditures of $135,561 for 2009 and a total town and township assessed valuation at $145,033,000, taxpayers shared the same tax rate of .0496 payable in 2010.

Due to declining tax revenues, the budget has decreased annually since 2006 without any debt.

With no salary raises, the 2010 budget is 16 percent, or $28,000 less than in 2006.

Grants, private donations and proceeds from the sale of donated materials are a major funding source for the library. A partial list since 2007 includes: $1,000 for books and DVDs from Psi Iota Xi, $1,000 for books from the Athene Society, $5,400 from the Gates Foundation for three computers, $4,000 from the Friends of the Library for the summer reading program and $3,000 from the Henry County Community Foundation for three computers and a walkway. Teresa Dennis is the current librarian.

The seven library board members are now appointed without political affilations, serving staggered four-year terms. They meet at 2:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month.

Currently, one board member, June Slick, was appointed by the Middletown Town Board. Bonnie Garrett was appointed by the Fall Creek Township Trustee. Three were appointed by the Shenandoah School Board: Anna Emswiller, Larry Hale and Gwen Russell. Two were appointed by the Henry County Commissioners: Paula Ramsey and Maynard  Powell.

Text Only
  • Jim Bailey: Gospel singer’s long road to recovery has begun Eighteen months ago, gospel singer and The Perrys manager Tracy Stuffle found himself wrecked by the side of the road, where he struggled to summon help on his cell phone. He had suffered a severe stroke while driving.

    July 30, 2014

  • Community Briefs: July 31 A compilation of community news items as published in the Thursday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 30, 2014

  • FEA HB0730 Gordon Brooks Berky strives to unite community through the arts His theater was originally going to be a place where he could perform when he’s not on tour, but then actor and mask maker Doug Berky had a bigger idea: Unite the community through entertainment.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Community Briefs: July 30 A compilation of community news as published in the Wednesday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 29, 2014

  • FEA - HB0729 - Senior Falls Aging safely in the comfort of her home Marilyn Moneyhun said being totally reliant on others is difficult. "Losing your independence is a shock to your system," Moneyhun, 84, said. "You are not in control anymore."

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Community Briefs: July 29 A compilation of community news items as published in the Tuesday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 29, 2014

  • FEA - HB0728 - Fresh Orientation - SH Elwood freshmen learn the ways of high school through mentoring program About half the 112 incoming freshmen at Elwood Jr./Sr. High School got a jump on their friends recently by attending a freshman orientation session. Joan Mercer, an English teacher who helped organize the the orientation, said the mentor program, which has been in place for several years, has been effective in new students make the high school transition.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • FEA-HB0727-MCWinery-JC6.JPG Having a wine time

    Cathy Hensley’s never been much of a drinker. It wasn’t something that interested her very much, so it seemed unfathomable that she would ever run a winery. But after her son Eric offered her and her husband, Duke, some wine he made, it changed things.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lanane among LifeStream honorees Dr. Jon Hendrix and Katie Lucas, both of Muncie; Janet Privett, Montezuma, Ohio, and Sen. Tim Lanane (D), Anderson, will be honored during a reception Aug. 7 in Muncie for their work in making a difference in the lives of aging adults and people with disabilities.

    July 26, 2014

  • Community Briefs: July 27 A compilation of community news items as published in the Sunday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 26, 2014

Reader Pet Photos

We're looking for your best pet photos! Share your photos of your favorite non-human companions in our new photo gallery. Click here to upload your photos

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin