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Washington County, Illinois

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Libraries in Nashville
 
Nashville News
Nashville, Illinois
May 10, 1917
Courtesy of Jo House
Want Public Library
      The City Welfare Club has planned the beginning of a public library. The laudable enterprise is to be started in a unique way by a "Book Social" scheduled for Tuesday evening, June 5, to which everybody is invited. Refreshments will be served and an interesting program is being arranged to entertain all comers. The price of admission is one book. Any book worth circulating is acceptable. This is to form the nucleus of a library.
      A public library is a need long felt and all citizens should be ready to help along the literary venture in prospect. Come with your book offering and be a library booster. The Welfare Club will see that you spend a pleasant evening.
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Nashville News
Nashville, Illinois
June 7, 1917
Courtesy of Jo House
Start Library
      Bookbearers trooped Tuesday evening to the city hall where their literary offering was registered by fair secretaries and they were admitted to the pleasures of the "Book Social" given by the City Welfare Club. The resultant collection of 187 volumes is a fine start for the proposed circulating library. The reading public showed appreciation of the scheme by large attendance, gift book in hand, and by close attention given the program arranged with a view of boosting the library.
      Mrs. J. P. Carter presided and introduced the speakers: Rev. H. G. Dusenberry, Rev. S. H. Hoar, Prof. Walter Krumsiek and State's Attorney H.H. House and County Supt. Friend, who call the attention to the educational value of good reading and benefits accruing from a public library.
      A quartet, consisting of Dr. E. H. Hohman, Dr. Godfrey Schroeder, C.C. Groves and Theo. Hohman entertained with songs. Refreshments were served.
      The plans for instituting and maintaining the library have not been completed, but will be announced later. The generously inclined are asked to bear in mind that further donations of books are acceptable and always in season.
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Nashville News
Nashville, Illinois
June 14, 1917
Courtesy of Jo House
More Books Wanted
      The collection of books accruing from the book Social of the Welfare Club is being arranged and catalogued for the Circulating Library which will be conducted at the Rest Room in the city hall. Mrs. Kate Graves has accepted the position as librarian.
      More book presents are desired to make the literary venture a success. The donors are requested to deliver _ _ _ at the Rest Room. Be a Library Booster.
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Nashville News
Nashville, Illinois
August 9, 1917
Courtesy of Jo House
Public Library to Open Soon
      The public library board wishes to announce that the book-cases are installed in the rest room at the city hall and are being filled with an increasing number of good books. The cards, which are to be presented to the librarian when you wish to read a book, are now ready, and can be obtained from Mrs. Kate Graves for the sun of twenty-five cents. This card entitles you to twenty-five books or one book every two weeks for one year. The date and day for obtaining books will soon be announced.

 
History of the Nashville Public Library
 
1979 Washington County Illinois History, Page 553
By Katy Briles & Joan B. Maxwell
Courtesy of Larry & Jo House
NASHVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
      "Let" Allen's Reading Room brought together interested readers in early 1900, but only on Sundays. In 1923 the NASHVILLE WOMAN'S CLUB opened a Library for leisure reading in what is now the City Hall. The W.P.A. took over with Permelia Murphy as the first Librarian in the 1930's. Ferrol Hileman was the County Supervisor and Ralph Schleifer was her assistant, and together they set up libraries at Beaucoup, DuBois, Ashley, Okawville and Irvington. Most of these fell by the wayside because of lack of taxpayers' interest after the W.P.A. quit backing them. However, Nashville's taxpayers passed a tax issue to support the library with taxes, under Mayor Wallace Huegely, in April 1943. Then the Library was moved to the building that had been the City Jail. The NASHVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY opened its doors to readers on August 1, 1943, with Ralph Schleifer as Librarian.
(continued below)

 
Before becoming the Nashville Public Library this building was used as the jail.
Photo of 1943 Nashville Public Library
Photograph courtesy of Larry House
Sign on Building reads :
Public Library
1943

The library was located on the east
side of the Ford Automobile dealership on East Elm Street.
 
 
Courtesy of Larry & Jo House
The Nashville News, Nashville, Illinois
June 24, 1943
Library Authorized By Council Friday
      A decision to establish a Nashville city library was reached by the city councilmen at a special meeting Friday night and at the same time an ordinance was passed calling for a levy of three-fourth of a mill per dollar annually on all taxable property to maintain same. The yield from the assessment is expected to amount to approximately $900 and the library budget will be outlined to stay within these bounds.
      The plan is now for the mayor to appoint a library board of nine local citizens and they as trustees will perfect arrangements, name a librarian, etc. This committee will likely be composed of one council member, four women from the Nashville Woman's club and four other public spirited individuals.
      Since the Woman's club has been instrumental in furthering the move for the library, on Friday night a group of four - Miss Clara Schmidt, Mrs. J. Paul Carter, Mrs. Ralph L. Maxwell and Mrs. Allen Shirley - met with the council for discussion of the plan.
      Originally the library was established by the Woman's club and a small borrowing fee was charged. Later, when it was taken over by the WPA a great many books were added and during that time a paid librarian was in charge. When WPA was discontinued the library was returned to the Woman's club, who held it open several hours a week, but there was difficulty in getting people to serve as librarian, so they presented their problem to the council. This prompted the councilmen to call for an advisory vote and when same was taken the majority of the votes expressed themselves in favor of the proposition. The sentiment of the people guided the council in their final decision.

The Nashville News, Nashville, Illinois
August 5, 1943
Ralph Schleifer Hired as New City Librarian
      At a meeting of the new library board last night Ralph Schleifer was hired as city librarian, effective as of August 1st. The library, however, will not open until Aug. 17, except on Saturdays, as usual, because of some re-arranging of books, cleaning the shelves, etc., that needs to be done.
      All members of the board but one attended last night's meeting. Mrs. Bernice Kerrecher, a representative of the state librarian's office, was also present and gave some very helpful ideas on library rules and regulations.

The Nashville News, Nashville, Illinois
September 2, 1943
      The city library opened yesterday on the second floor of the city hall. Hours are from 2 to 5 and 7 to 9 p. m. five days a week - from Tuesday through Saturday.

 
Photo of previous Nashville Public Library
Photographed 1972, courtesy of Larry House
Located on the northwest corner of South Kaskaskia and Lebanon Streets, Nashville, Illinois
 
1979 Washington County Illinois History, Page 553
By Katy Briles & Joan B. Maxwell
Courtesy of Larry & Jo House
NASHVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
continued
      The Library Board continued to set aside money for an improved library site and in 1962 a large brick private home known as the J. P. Carter residence at 203 S. Kaskaskia St. was bought for $8,500. The initial remodeling cost $3,600 and the books were moved to this new home in July, 1962. The Nashville Public Library was joining the Kaskaskia Library System and becoming automated when Ralph Schleifer retired in Dec. 1970 after 35 years as Librarian.
      The Nashville Library was one of the first in the four county area to join the newly organized KLS in 1967, one of 18 in the statewide network of regional libraries.
      The Library building is a vintage brick home, with verandas on the East and South. It is painted white with black trim and has a distinctive glassed "Indian Watch" on the roof. It is set on a large lawn with an ancient blue ash protecting it from the North wind. In its first years the upstairs was rented as an apartment. In 1972 this was remodeled and became the children's department, reference reading room, and Library Board meeting Room.
      Mrs. Mildred Schuetz Snider spent the next eight years as Librarian, then Brian Hassler, eight months, and now Katy Briles is Librarian. The present Board members are: Tony Lehde, President; Bob Cross; Louise Beckman; Bill Jack; Eric Campagna, Treasurer; Joan Maxwell, Sec'y and KLS representative; Janet Niermann; Ann Weitge; and Arthur Beek, Jr., Councilman.

 
Photo of Nashville Public Library
Photographed in January 2000
Located at 219 East Elm Street, Nashville, Illinois
 

small bookcase graphic Nashville Public Library small library photo
Nashville Public Library
Website Link
219 East Elm Street
Nashville, Illinois 62263

 

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