Rushville Republican

News

February 9, 2010

Happy birthday, Rushville Public Library

A century is a long time: 100 years, 10 decades. The year was 1910. Gibson girl fashions were in vogue but faded during the decade. Ray Harroun was a year away from winning the first Indianapolis 500 in May 1911. Comedian Red Skelton was born in Indiana; Russian author Leo Tolstoy died; the Boy Scouts of America incorporated; Fathers Day was celebrated for the first time; and Rushville Public Library came into existence.

The start of the Rushville Public Library may be credited to the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1909. The then-new group’s first project was to have a “book shower” to start a public library.

According to the DAR minutes, “On Feb. 22, 1910, the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution held a reception and book shower at the courthouse. The response of our citizens was so generous that we received a sufficient number of volumes to serve as the nucleus for a library. A little later, the County commissioners granted the use of three rooms in the courthouse for library and rest rooms. June 11, 1901 the library was opened with a reception at which several prominent citizens expressed in brief address a strong interest in the library movement. Thus encouraged, the ladies undertook to obtain a City Library by conforming with the conditions of the State Library laws. Subscriptions to the amount of $1,400 were obtained. In December, the Court, the Council, and the School Board appointed members of the Library Board. On Jan. 11, 1911, the Board received from the city the books and furnishings of the Library.”

There were 886 volumes in the library in the northeast corner of the Rush County Courthouse with a daily average of 35.5 circulated. As these statistics increased it became obvious more space was needed.

In 1928 the present site at Third and Morgan streets was purchased from the I & C Traction Company. Bonds were issued and the firm of McGuire and Shook of Indianapolis was employed as architects. The Bedford limestone structure was ready for occupancy Jan. 16, 1931.

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