Ida Branch Library

3016 Lewis Avenue
Ida, MI 48140


History :

The Ida branch of the Monroe County Library System began about 1930 in a little building on the main street called the Anweiler building (since torn down).

The books were mainly solicited gift books and discarded books from State Library and the University of Michigan.

On April 11, 1934, the Monroe County Library was approved by the Board of Supervisors. On May 26, 1934, Mr. August Bastian, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, approved the county library board and the Ida library began. On May 30, 1934, the county library board was appointed as follows: Mrs. Gordon, chairman, Dr. McMillan, Hall Deland, James A. Kelly, and a fifth member.

About 1935 there was a definite shortage of work and to give employment to more people, the WPA (Works Progress Administration) was formed. This was a federal aid project to provide extra employment. Mrs. Lillian Navarre, library supervisor, had the project authorized at Lansing and a county library system was started. At this time, Dundee had a small library in the rear of a dry goods store. This served as headquarters with Miss Ruth Dancer (a graduate of U. of M. Library School) as librarian. She resigned in 1935 and the library closed from July to December.

All the books throughout the county libraries were gathered and taken to the third floor of the Monroe City Hall and on a very, very cold day and in a very cold room, 17 women sorted and mended the books. Ten cents a book was allowed for mending. This was allowed for supplies, but was not at all adequate. At this time there was a fund donated by Rep. Couzzens and the library was given $1,100 for supplies.

The Ida library was started by the WPA in a small building on the main street. The furnishings were gifts and things supplied by the WPA. Two very sturdy little chairs (with WPA labels) are still in use by the local library. Other chairs also still in use were those discarded from St. Joseph's School. Mrs. Navarre purchased these at twenty-five cents apiece, then had them refinished and re-caned. The drapes were especially attractive with colorful applique work. This was a WPA project for the women. As far as we can determine, Mrs. Elizabeth Cory (recently deceased) was the first branch librarian. At that time the local libraries were called stations rather than branches. 

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