HISTORY OF THE METAMORA VILLAGE PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT LIBRARY – EVERGREEN COMMUNITY LIBRARY
The METAMORA PUBLIC LIBRARY was founded in April 1927 and until July 1929, was located in the post office building. Myrtle Crockett, J.H. Pifer, Albert Linehan, Ruth Barnaby (Wright), C.J. Malone, E.S. Davoll and E.A. Gordon served as members of the first library board of trustees. The board meetings were conducted in the director’s rooms of the Home Savings Bank. This is now known as the Municipal Building as is located at 114 East Main St.
C.J. Malone was the first president of the board of trustees and was later replaced by J.H. Pifer who served as president for twelve years and served a total of fifteen years on the board.
In July 1929, the library was moved to the building owned by Harmon Hintz located at 109 West Main St. The Library remained in this building until January 1946, when it was moved to the Metamora School (Evergreen East) at 310 Swanton St. IN August 1949, J.H. Pifer, president of the board, resigned because of failing health. Ollie J. Pifer was appointed to replace his father.
On November 2, 1949 the people of the Metamora School District voted to erect a building for library purposes. From the village a lot on which the library was to be constructed was purchased for $1.00. Upon this property a building 64’6 x 33’6 was erected, being built of cinder block with buff brick facing. This building provided 2,210 square feet of library space. Upon completion of the library building in the latter part of 1951, The Metamora Public Library was moved from the Metamora School to its permanent location at 253 Maple Street adjoining the Metamora Fire Dept. The new building was dedicated on Sunday, February 17, 1952. The trustees at this time were Ollie Pifer, C.J. Malone, Leland Lathrop, Ruth Wright, O.W. Churchill, Carolyn Pifer and Eunice Jacob. Sarah Semmler was the librarian.
By 1985 the Metamora-Amboy Fire Dept. had located to a new building on Mill Street and the empty fire building was purchased for $2500.00 from the Metamora Village with the promise to maintain the existing community room for rental as long as possible or feasible. A bond issue was brought before the voters in the school district to raise 9/10 of a mil. The bond issue did not pass, so the architects (Munger and Munger) revised the plans to a lesser scale and the construction was to begin the fall of 1986 to totally remodel the existing building and incorporate the old fire building into a library twice the size of the old with offices and restrooms included. Insulation and siding were also added to the whole building.
At that time, the name of the library was changed to Evergreen Community Library. The Trustees concluded that since the school district was consolidated and we serviced the entire new school district, the name Metamora Public Library was misleading to the surrounding areas.
The dedication of the newly remodeled and expanded library was on April 26, 1987, sixty years after the library was established. The trustees at that time were: David Sharples, President, Bette Hudnutt, Marianne Lulfs, Elaine Patterson, Elizabeth Rowland and Ruth Wright. Harriet Loar was the Librarian/Clerk-Treasurer. Ruth Wright was honored, as she was a charter member of the board. (Revised, November 19, 1996).
In 1997, another addition was approved by the Board of Trustees to add two offices for the Director and Clerk-Treasurer, a board meeting room, a storage room for periodicals and supplies. This expansion created an audio-visual section, a young adult area, and more office space for the staff in the existing floor plan. Jody Pershing was Director at this time. Patsy Dowling was the Clerk-Treasurer.
The Library purchased the adjacent property located on the west side in December of 2002 for future expansion needs at a price of $75,000.00 from Mary Espinoza.
Plans began in 2002 for another renovation of the Library’s floor plan due to an increased demand for larger collections of periodicals, videos, audio-books and computer access. The existing community room was redesigned to become additional library space for the young adult collection, the children’s collection and a programming room for children. The original plans included the construction of a new community room to be added to the southeast corner of the building as an alternate bid. Bids were accepted in February of 2003 to begin the renovation project of the library in April of 2003. The library renovation was complete in September of 2003.
However, the Metamora Village Zoning Appeals Board did not approve the Phase II portion of the plan to construct the new community room, citing safety as an issue regards to poor visibility for the traffic using the alley that dead ends into Mill Street. The plans had to be revised to build the community room on the west side of the Library. Due to relocating the community room it would require an additional $100,000.00 to build. The construction was pending further evaluation by the Board of Trustees because the project exceeded the Library’s Budget. An appeal to the citizens of the Evergreen Community for financial donations to help with the increased construction occurred in 2003. (Revised June 12, 2003)
Through a Capital Building Campaign that began in 2003 $40,000.00 was raised for the construction of the community room. In 2006, the Board decided to put the project out for bid. The bids were favorable to begin construction on a 35’ x 29’ addition to the west side of the Library. The room is designed to accommodate up to 80 people and can be rented to the public in addition to the Library’s use for programming. The Community Room was completed in September 2006. The Open House was held on October 30, 2006. (Revised October 31, 2006)