Skip to main content

History of the Benton Township Library

May contain: architecture, building, cottage, house, housing, outdoors, shelter, countryside, hut, nature, rural, plant, tree, tree trunk, and shack

The Benton Township Library was located in the Village of Potterville, Eaton County.  It was made possible by the efforts of three women, Mrs. A. P. VanAuken, Mrs. Alice Ross and Mrs. Ella Higbe, who circulated a petition among the voters for that purpose.  At the spring election of 1904, the first Library Board was elected, and in September a Librarian and room were engaged.  With the help of the State Librarian, Mrs. Spencer, one hundred books and a very modest equipment were ordered.  One hundred books were loaned by the State Library, and the new township library was opened in October, 1904.  The library was kept in a private house and opened every week day to the public.  This proved not entirely satisfactory and after a time the Board voted to open it four afternoons and evenings in the week.  During the first year and a half, there were several loans of books from the State Library, but after that there were enough books on hand to supply the demand.  The cordial helpfulness and kind advice of Mrs. Spencer, and her patience with a green librarian will always be gratefully remembered.  In the early summer of 1916 the State Inspector, Miss Nina K. Preston, spent several days at the Library, classifying the books and assisting in other ways.

In 1930 the Library occupied a comfortable, well-equipped room on a Main Street corner in Potterville.  There were about 2200 volumes in all and magazines were taken, which were loaned out like books.  The teachers of the village used the library to a great extent, but the country teachers had not yet acquired the library habit.  Several of the country schools had their own libraries which may account for it.  The Library Board was composed of six members, two being elected at each spring election.  They decided on the amount of money to be used each year for the expense of the library and request the Board of Supervisors to set aside such sum which was usually done without question.  We also received the primary funds for this district as the Village school had no library of its own.  The amount varied, being last year, 1929, being about $30.00.  There were no other resources.  Miss Clara S. Locke was the first Librarian and had been in charge until her death on November 26, 1930.  She was much beloved by all who knew her.  The community lost by her death a rare mind whose wit and keen insight were greatly missed by her many friends.

Written by Miss Locke, September 1, 1930.

Join our mailing list