(Photo by Ron Trees)
Mission Statement of the Frankfort Community/Clinton County Contractual Public Library
The Frankfort Community Public Library/Clinton County Contractual Public Library is a place where young readers are created; where people of all ages can satisfy their curiosity, express their creativity, appreciate the arts, stimulate their imagination and connect to the world online.
The Frankfort Community Public Library originated as a subscription library December of 1879 and February 1880. This library was simply a collection of books in the back room of Doyal & Gard's law offices at the court house. Over the next four years, the collection never had a permanent location, being moved to various law offices. Then on 7 July 1884, the library was donated to the city. In the next two years, though, it continued to move--from the Council Chambers, to the county superintendent's office, to the Courthouse,and, finally, to a room in the High School building for five years under the direction of superintendent of schools, Edwin S. Monroe. In 1905, Superintendent Monroe wrote a letter to Andrew Carnegie. Andrew Carnegie was a self-made man who made a fortune in the steel industry. He was known for his philanthropy and for his fervent advocacy of libraries. True to his reputation, he responded to Monroe with a donation of $24,000 towards the building of a new library. (Adjusted for inflation, $24,000 in 1905 is equivalent to $461,449.70 today.) Along with the support of Frankfort tax money, the library finally got its permanent home in 1906 at the corner of Clinton and Columbia Streets.
The next notable change came in 1962 when a Board of Trustees was assigned to oversee the library and its functioning. Previous to the Board of Trustees, the library had been under the jurisdiction of the School Board.
In the early 1970s, now retired, director Bill Caddell was appointed. He envisioned a library that was not limited to just books and tapes but as a complete cultural center that would not only educate but would also enrich the community. Nineteen eighty-eight saw the ground breaking for what is now known as the Mary Gorham Herrick Wing. It more than tripled the square footage of the library and added a theatre as well as an art gallery. The entire wing was built with primary funding coming from generously donated gifts of money or property. Tax money was used for operation costs and with the addition of the Clinton County Contractual Library in 1984, the tax monies from the newly expanded areas of service was enough to cover the costs.
Today, residents of Frankfort and Clinton County can enjoy a library that includes the Skanta Theatre, the Anna and Harlan Hubbard and Mary and Joe McKown Art Galleries, a music room with a grand piano, Harry's Bar: The Coffee Bar Down Under, meeting rooms available for public use and a variety of programs from computer classes to jewelry making and even cooking!
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