2 GRANBY RD, GRANVILLE MA 01034 413-357-8531; firstname.lastname@example.org
MONDAY: 10-NOON; 3-8
DIRECTOR: MARY SHORT TRUSTEES: ROBERT GLEASON (2016-2019) JENNIFER KINSMAN (2014-2017) APRIL LABREQUE (2015-2018)
"------- and Ladies of the Club"
This year the Library Club will celebrate its 100th year of service to the Town of Granville. It was February 11th 1896, on a rather frosty evening Mrs. Ralph B. Cooley gathered at her home 12 women and laid before them her hopes for a permanent home for a library to serve all of Granville. This group she organized into the Granville Library Club of which she was President. Nellie Noble became Vice President, Cora Noble was made Secretary and Treasurer. The other members were: Mrs. Orville Noble, Mrs. Silas Root, Mrs. Cittie Huddleston, Mrs. Mary Gill, Mrs. Emma Barlow, Mrs. Milo Seymour, Mrs. Nell Gibbons, Mrs. E. N. Henry, Mrs. Alice Carpenter and Miss Clara Wilcox.
Then of course came the very important questions of where to build this library and how to finance it. We're talking about a time before one hopped into one's Chevy Van or Ford Escort and tiddled on down to the center to pick up a few videos, an audio and a current novel to tide one over the weekend. You had to hitch old Dobbin to the sleigh or it was shanks mare to get from one point to the other.
Therefore location was very important. It would be most interesting to have a picture of library corner before building was started. It became necessary to move 2 houses and take down several buildings. The house on the corner facing west was the Gaines home and between that house and the Grange Hall stood another house, the Bruch home. These houses were moved and a barn and some very large trees were pulled down.
Clearly this venture was not a question of writing a check or so. The club members were mostly of modest means and the money would have to be earned. Each member pledged $10 a year which she would earn. In addition there were to be joint efforts at obtaining funds. With the exception of two generous gifts practically all the money was raised in this one small village of Granville. And consider the true picture of conditions at the time; milk was 5 cents a quart, an excellent dinner at one of Westfield's best restaurants cost 25 cents, a meal consisting of a large dish of soup, a generous serving of roast beef with potatoes and 2 other vegetables, lots of bread and butter and a huge piece of pie and coffee. Think of it!
In November 1896 a fair was held. The first in 25 years. This brought in $500. The chief interest in this fair centered around a beautifully dressed French doll given by the club president. A great many tickets had been sold allowing purchasers to guess its name. The doll going to the correct guesser. The name proved to be Celia, the president's mother's name. The winner of the doll immediately gave it back and it was sold again, given back and sold once more. All told it netted $112. I called Wilhelmina to ask if she knew what had happened to the dolly. Unfortunately she did not. But wouldn't it be interesting to find out where Celia spent her remaining years?
By the end of the third year the club had banked $3,000. Then Mr. Milton B. Whitney of Westfield, a Granville native offered to give $5,000 to be used in the building and furnishing of the library, if this sum could be matched. The club raised money by subscription among town folk amounting to $1,800 in sums of 50 cents and up. Former residents pledged money and Mr. Whitney's offer was more than paired by the club.
And so a club started in 1896 by 1901 had completed the work on the building that is now the Granville Public Library at a cost of $13,000. This gives you some idea of the zeal and self denial with which these few women worked.
The club has been meeting continuously since its inception to this day - a century of service to our town.
Rose Miller - Historical Room - 1996 added September 2015