1903-1925Established in 1899, the Bloomsburg Library Company was not much more than a reading room. It was located on the second floor of the Woolworth Building. Take a close look at the desk in the photo at right: it is still in use in the Children's Library .Bloomsburgers read so eagerly, however, that in 1903, the Civic, Century, Ivy and Wednesday Clubs pooled their resources to provide support for a real library.
A Board of Directors was formed and a librarian hired. The Library moved with the times. A telephone was installed in 1913 and the following year
piano rolls were added to the collection, to be loaned out to patrons for
the sum of one quarter.
In 1915, Librarian Edith Patterson addressed a public meeting on the serious subject of "The Influence of Motion Pictures on the Library." By the time Marian Mauser was hired as Head Librarian in 1920, it was becoming clear that the Bloomsburg Library Company was more than ready for a home of its own.
Library use was so enthusiastic by the 1920s that it became clear that the
time was right for a library building.
An elegant neo-classical design submitted by Ritter & Shay, a Philadelphia firm, suggested a temple of knowledge that was to be a memorial to the men of Columbia County killed in World War I.
Inside, a high ceiling and large windows would provide lots of light and air. A building fund was established in 1923 and fundraising began.
Miss Sarah Van Tassel was one of the most vocal proponents of the new Library and was a generous donor of both funds and ideas. The trust fund that she set up for the Library in 1938 continues to be a vital source of support.
The Library Museum
envisioned as a multi-media center for culture and education, the Library
acquired a collection of artifacts and art pieces, mainly in the 1930s.
No home or public building in the 1870s with aspirations to refinement would have been without at least one John Rogers plaster genre sculpture. The Library displays two, Neighboring Pews and Coming to the Parson (right), near the first-floor Reading Area. One of the most popular pieces in the Library's collection is the little shepherdess on her marble base that graces the preschool section of the R. R. Donnelly Children's Library.
She arrived in 1964, the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Enders. "Prof. A. Cambi, 1894" is carved in the grass at the little girl's feet, but nothing is known of her sculptor or original owner.