Bloomfield can now boast of a splendid public library. Tuesday evening marked the opening and notwithstanding a downpour of rain at the appointed hour a large assembly of representative citizens came to inspect the library and enjoy the program.
A little more than two years ago Miss Merica Hoagland, who was at that time secretary of the State library commission, visited Bloomfield, gave a plan and practical talk to a small number of interested citizens in regard to the value of the library to any community and the steps necessary to the organization of a library law.
As the first step a committee was appointed to solicit subscriptions and in a short time had secured pledges to the amount of $330, which was a sufficient per cent. of the taxable property to make it obligatory upon the town board to levy a tax for the support of the library. This tax - only ten cents on the $100 - was cheerfully levied; and from the subscriptions above mentioned and the tax of last year the library has been established. Progress has at times seemed a bit slow but there have been a number of unavoidable delays, and besides it was necessary to wait the income from the tax to get a sufficient sum to make a beginning.
One of the first steps, too, was the appointment of a library board, and from time to time have been appointed various committees to push the work forward.
The first purchase of books is in the neighborhood of $900 and the number of volumes about 950, of which number nearly 800 have already arrived and another shipment of 150 volumes is expected in a few days. The second shipment will include a set of the best reference work on the market - the New International Encyclopedia.
One of the most interesting features of the opening was a book "shower" given under the auspices of the Argonaut club and as a result of this shower about 250 volumes were brought in by the generous citizens of Bloomfield and a number of out-of-town friends and added to the library. So that when the next shipment arrives, within a few days, the library will contain not fewer than 1200 volumes which is considered remarkably large for the beginning.
In addition to the books donated at the opening, not far from the sum of $15 cash was contributed to be laid out in books.
The main library room is also to be a reading room and a considerable number of the best magazines and other periodicals have been subscribed for and will soon be here for the use of the public. This room has been repapered and given a fresh coat of paint and thus has been greatly beautified; handsome book and magazine shelves have been provided and a librarian's desk together with suitable reading tables have been ordered.
After inspecting the books Tuesday evening and after listening to a delightful concert by the Bloomfield band, which is always ready to respond on a public occasion, the people repaired to the court room where a short but interesting and appropriate program was rendered. There were a number of exercises by the Rev. W.H. Wylie, a solo was rendered by G.E. McCracken, and an address was given by Chalmers Hadley, of Indianapolis, secretary of the State library commission and State library organizer, who had come especially for the occasion. Every number on the program was enjoyed by an audience that filled the court room. Mr. Hadley's address was full of wise and practical suggestions and greatly increased the interest in the library as he revealed its possibilities.
Miss Grace Burton, of Gosport, who is a graduate of a library school, has been engaged to come and act as librarian for a few weeks in order to arrange and classify the books, and until she arrives, which will not be many days, the library will not be open to the public.
The book committee labored faithfully in their efforts to get the very best books in every department of literature - not light and frivolous books, but books which have stood the test of time or have been pronounced good by the best critics. And it is believed that there are books which will suit the taste of every class of the reading public.
The people have responded to every request in this matter and they have done it so willingly and cheerfully that it means the library will be widely patronized and will have a sure and steady growth.
The library is conveniently located, occupying as it does, the rooms in the northwest corner of the court house, which were rented for the purpose as soon as they were vacated by the Bloomfield News.
The opening was very auspicious and Bloomfield has a right to feel proud of her library which will mean much to her future culture and refinement.
On account of the rain Tuesday evening a number of people who intended to make a donation of books were prevented from coming. In order to accommodate those who may wish to donate books or cash the library will be kept open next Saturday afternoon from two till five o'clock and some one will be in charge to accept all offerings.