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New Library Building Opens
August 31, 1922, coverage by the Bay City Times of Bay City's new library building.
  • Source: Central Library, Center Ave., history document.

    Thursday, August 31, 1922


    LIbrarian Bishop, U. of M., Will Address Invited Guests;
    Public Inspection Saturday, Tuesday;
    Open for Business Wednesday

    Schudule for the opening of the new Public Library:
    Friday, Sept. 1 - Formal opening for invited guests
    Saturday, Sept. 2 - Public inspection from 7 to 9 p.m.
    Tuesday, Sept. 5 - Public inspection and return of books from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    Wednesday, Sept. 6 - Open for "business as usual"

    The formal opening of the new Bay City public library, for which an excellent program has been prepared, will take place Friday evening, September 1, and owing to the limited seating capacity, attendance at the opening function has been limited to 500 invited guests. Miss Ballou, the city librarian, has been as fair as possible, however, and has mailed invitation to all persons or organizations that will be chiefly interested in or benefitted from by the exercises, and has arranged to have the building open for public inspection on Saturday and Tuesday. The building will be opened for library purposes on Wednesday, September 6, it is said.

    The speaker of the evening for Friday's program will be William Bishop W. Bishop, librarian at the University of Michigan, who has had a wide experience as a librarian and cataloguer, and is the author of a notable volume on library cataloging.

    Public Inspection Saturday

    The library will be open on Saturday, September 2, from 7:00 to 9:00 in the evening for public inspection, but no books will be issued. The building will then be closed over the Labor Day, and will again be opened Tuesday, September 5 from 9:00 in the morning until 9:00 in the evening for public inspection and for the return of books which have been out since the closing of the old library in the city hall. No books will be issued on that day, however. On Wednesday, September 6, the library will be ready for use, and will maintain the following schedule of hours: from 9:00 in the morning to 9:00 in the evening, with the children's room open from 3:00 to 6:00 on school days, and from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

    The building has been ideally arranged for library purposes, making the best possible provision for light, comfort, and for the care and preservation of its contents. The color tone, cram and white gives a cheerful air to the building, and is also restful to the eyes both under natural and artificial light. The windows in each of the rooms are placed near the ceiling, to insure the best possible and the greatest amount of natural light for the patrons of the reading rooms, and a series of ten hanging lamps, in each room provided with powerful bulbs, comprise an indirect lighting system which is adequately brilliant without being severe or harmful to the eyes.

    The delivery lobby, or desk where the books are issued or discharged, is directly in front of the main entrance, and has a marble floor. The steps leading up to the lobby, and into the basement, are also of marble. The aisle in front of the delivery desk is somewhat narrow, but Miss Ballou explains that this will provide an excellent check of the books going out, and will aid in preventing the loss of books by the city.

    The main floor of the building is divided into three rooms, the one on the east being used for fiction and general reading, the center being used for the delivery desk and the stacks, and the room on the west being for reference work and study. It is planned to have all the noise and bustle in the building confined to the fiction or popular room on the east side of the building. Cases about seven feet high line the walls of this room, and these are filled with all of the adult fiction, the library's collection of vocal and instrumental music, the rental books, seven-day volumes, new books, and those volumes for which there will be an active demand. The reading tables, which are of heavy oak construction, are expected to be occupied most of the day, and comfortable oak chairs, with arms, have been provided for this room and the study room the west side of the building. The most popular of the American magazines will also be kept in the fiction room of the new library.

    The west room will be used solely for reference and study purposes. The library's encyclopedia and other reference volumes will be placed on the shelves which line the walls of this room, as will also other non-circulating books. In addition there will be works of literature and complete collections of magazines. Absolute quiet will be demanded in this room of the library, which will be most popular among the students of the city.

    Five Tiers of Stacks

    The stacks are arranged in five tiers, two of which are on the main floor, and three extending from the main floor to the basement. The books are classified under the Dewey system of decimal classification which divides all books into 10 classes. Starting at the east end of the stacks, they are arranged as follows in the new library building. Bibliography, philosophy, religion, sociology, philology and science and general arts take up the main floor stacks. The first stack below the main floor contains books on the fine arts and amusements, travel, and biography. The next stack below contains the volumes on history and the library's collections of magazines.

    Room Provided for Children

    A children's room has been provided in the east room of the basement. There is a wash stand where they may tidy up before handling the books which line the walls of their special room, and as in the other divisions of the library there is a cosy seat built into the wall beneath each window. A small space is partitioned off in the rear of the room, and this will be used for the children’s story hour. The story hour room is provided with an open gate.

    The basement room on the west side has been named the "Michigan room," and will contain everything of exceptional beauty or interest in the possession of the library. The door of this room has been beautified by the stained glass window which was placed in the Michigan building at the Columbian Exposition in 1893 by the Bay City Art club and on the inside of the room are a beautiful picture which has been loaned by the Bay City Art club, and a small marble statue of the "Sleeping Adradne," which left to the library by Miss Adalaide Savage. It is said that the statue is of Italian workmanship and has been in the Savage family at least since 1820. In the cases which line the walls of this room will be the library's collection of rare volumes which is unusually large and interesting. In past years these volumes have not been brought to the attention of the public because there has been no place to exhibit them, but Miss Ballou is planning to have exhibits of these rare books as soon as time for such a display can be found. The Michigan room will also be entirely at the service of the public for committee and other small meetings, with certain restrictions.

    The $86,000 fund which was used in the construction of the building was contributed by the following organizations and persons: The city of Bay City, by a vote of the electors, $25,000: the Carnegie Corporation, $35,000: the city appropriation, $6,000: and by William L. Clements, C.R. Wells and James E. Davidson, $20,000.

    The beautiful site for the building was given by William L. Clements, C.R. Wells, James E. Davidson, and the late H.B. Smith and includes the lot behind the library to Sixth street. Edward L. Tilton of New York was the architect. Some criticism of the building has been heard on the grounds that it is too small, but Miss Ballou declares that the library is large enough to care for the needs of the next two generations, so that when the time comes, an addition can be built to the rear of the building.

    Library Histories
    Bay City Library Association
    1919, Merger of Library Sys.
    1922, New Library Bldg. Opens
    People Referenced
    Ballou, (Miss) Clements, Wm. L.
    Savage, Adalaide
    Smith, H.B.
    Tilton, Edward L.
    Wells, C.R.
    Davidson, James E.
    Subjects Referenced
    Bay City Art Club
    Dewey system
    Carnegie Corp.
    Univ. of Mich.
    Related References
    None at this time.

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