History of the Library

                Putnam County Public Library is located on the east side of the Unionvile square in the Summers building.  It was formally established on April 2, 1946, but the seed for its growth was planted and nourished by the hard work of citizens back in the 1920’s.  A headline in the Unionville Republican on Dec. 16, 1925 reads, “Chance for Library: Beginning of a Good Public Library is Possible Through Cooperation of the People.”   County Superintendent Elroy Loughridge  and his wife Myrtle volunteered space in the Superintendent’s office to house books for the Putnam County Library.  The Presbyterian church had a library of about 200 books which they donated  to the library, and it was thought that other citizens would donate books to bring the library collection up to several hundred books right away.  Within a month, the library had over 500 books, and  Mrs. Bebermeyer volunteered to catalog the books, with Mrs. Loughridge supervising the running of the library.  The Unionville grade school and the rural schools contributed both books and money for the library project.  The Ladies Civic League put on a fundraiser called the “Womanless Wedding.”  This involved local male citizens playing both the male and female parts in the play.  Prominent citizens took part, and the event was such a success that it had to be performed twice, netting $184 for the library.

                The library soon outgrew the Superintendent’s office and moved to the basement of the courthouse.  It was supported by donations and was open a few hours each week, with Mrs. Mary Smith serving as librarian until 1947.  Two proposals were placed on the ballot in 1946; one was to create a Putnam County Library District, and the other was to levy a one mill tax for its support.  Both passed with a good majority, and the new library was formally re-named Putnam County Public Library.  Miss Louise Summers was hired as librarian on March 15, 1947 and she served for a year.  The library was moved to the McCalment building on the east side of the square in 1948 and later moved to the Jones building in 1952.   The library had a Bookmobile that went to each of the county schools, beginning in 1948.  At that time there were 87 school districts and most had schools.  Delbert Neighbors ran the Bookmobile from 1948 to 1978  and kept those schools and the towns supplied with library books.   When the rural schools closed, he worked at the library another ten years keeping the financial records. 

                In 1992, the Summers building (the old Royal Theatre) was purchased, and renovation began.  Putnam County citizens were generous in their support, with Mary McCalment  donating the purchase price of the building.  Once again the schools supported the library, with the PC-R1 building trades class and instructor Mark Walsh donating their work preparing the front of the building for new windows and doors.   Ceilings were lowered, floors were raised and leveled, new doors and an entry way were installed in the front of the building, and shelving was installed before the building was ready to house the library in 1993.  The current library staff includes:  Leatha Walsh, Director; Melanie Robbins, Assistant Director; Patsy Thompson,  library clerk, and Marylin Blankenship, library clerk.  Current Library Board Members include:  Linda Davis, Donna Kenyon, Gloria Smith, Dave Phinney, and Andy Hume.

                Library Directors:

                                Mary Smith                      ??? to 1947

                                Louise Summers              1947 to 1948

                                Beryl Triplett                     1948 to 1963

                                Georga Norman                1963 to 1965

                                Evelyn Rennells                1965 to 1966

                                Jessie Snyder                   1966 to 1982

                                Merle Lewis                      1982 to 1983

                                Joyce Casady                   1983 to 1995

                                Bob Sanders                     1995 to 1996

                                Diane Beatty                     1996 to 2001

                                Jami Livingston                  2001 to 2007

                                Leatha Walsh                    2007 to present