Monroe County's Carnegie Library
Location: 202 East 6th Street, Bloomington (Monroe County, Indiana)
Installed: 2007 Indiana Historical Bureau and Monroe County Public Library Foundation.
ID# : 53.2007.1
County's only Carnegie Library dedicated 1918 as Bloomington Public Library with 6, 439 volumes; built with local support and $31, 000 from Carnegie Corporation. Replaced Colored School, at this site circa 1874-1915. Addition built at southeast corner 1955. Library moved to new building nearby 1970.
One of 1, 679 libraries built in U.S. with funds from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Indiana built more Carnegie libraries than any other state. Building listed in National Register of Historic Places 1978. Monroe County Historical Society and Museum refurbished and occupied building 1980.
Carnegie Libraries, Buildings and Architecture
County's only Carnegie Library dedicated 1918 as Bloomington Public Library with 6, 439 volumes;(1) built with local support and $31, 000 from Carnegie Corporation.(2) Replaced Colored School, at this site circa 1874-1915.(3) Addition built at southeast corner 1955.(4) Library moved to new building nearby 1970.(5)
One of 1, 679 libraries built in U.S. with funds from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Indiana built more Carnegie libraries than any other state. Building listed in National Register of Historic Places 1978.(6) Monroe County Historical Society and Museum refurbished and occupied building 1980.(7)
(1) List of Carnegie libraries in Indiana, Indiana State Library, Library Development Office, http://www.statelib.lib.in.us/www/isl/ldo/carn.html (accessed October 30, 2003).
Dedication Program, Bloomington Public Library, February 1, 1918, "Material Used in the Library Campaign, " Notebook, Monroe County Public Library Collection. Library Occurrent, vol. 5, no. 2 (April 1918), 41; Bloomington Evening World, February 2, 1918. Report of the Public Library Commission of the State of Indiana for the Year for the Year Ending September 30, 1918 (Indianapolis, 1919), 26.
The building architect was Wilson B. Parker of Indianapolis; general contractor was George A. Weaver and Son. Library Occurrent, 41.
Parker was a prolific architect who designed numerous public buildings in Indiana including several Carnegie libraries. Monroe Carnegie Library, National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form (December 21, 1977), section 8.
The building was built of limestone and designed in the Beaux-Arts style. Library Occurrent, 41; City of Bloomington Interim Report (Indianapolis, 1986), 48.
In 1965, the Bloomington Public Library merged with the Monroe County Public Library system." Monroe County Public Library, About the Library, http://www.Monroe.lib.in.us/administration/newbuilding.html (accessed October 30, 2003).
(2) On August 9, 1916, Perry Township Advisory Board accepted grant of $31, 000 and agreed to levy tax to meet Carnegie Corporation requirements for partial support of said library. "A Resolution to Accept the Donation of Carnegie Corporation of New York, " accepted by members of the Advisory Board of Perry Township, Monroe County, August 9, 1916 (Monroe County Public Library). According to this resolution, similar resolutions were needed from the City Common Council, the Library Board, and the trustees of Bloomington Township; no other resolutions have been provided. James Bertram, secretary, Carnegie Corporation of New York, to E. M. C. Hobbs, president of library board, September 29, 1915, Monroe County Public Library.
(3) The Colored School grounds at Sixth and Washington were purchased by the city library board for $12, 000 for use for a library building. Library Board Minutes, April 12, 1915 (Monroe County Public Library).
According to the minutes of the Bloomington City School Board, January 23, 1913, the Building Committee of the Public Library Board "presented a request to purchase the Colored School lot for the purpose of erecting a Public Library Building there. The Board made no definite decision in the matter and it is pending further consideration." On April 3 and 9, 1915, the School Board minutes record the public auction of the property to the Library Board for $12, 000 and the preparation of the deed (Minutes are at the Monroe County Historical Museum.). See "The Colored School" marker file.
(4) Bloomington Daily Herald-Telephone, August 2, 1955.
(5) Library closed because of limited space; the new building was on Kirkwood. Bloomington Daily Herald-Telephone, October 30, 1970; Will Counts, James H. Madison, and Scott Russell Sanders, Bloomington Past and Present (Bloomington, Ind., 2002), 36.
(6) Historic Indiana, Indiana Properties Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, 2003-2004 (Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation), 37.
(7) Counts, et al. , 36. In 1977, the building was purchased by The Old Library, Inc. (TOLI) for a history museum. Counts, et al., 36. On March 11, 1994, the MCHSM building was purchased from TOLI for $1.00. Kari Price, Executive Director of the Monroe County Historical Society Museum, e-mail to Indiana Historical Bureau, July 28, 2003.