By 1812Blockhouse

As the Marvin Memorial Library in Shelby’s 125th Anniversary Celebration approaches its conclusion, a series of events in early May will take center stage.

Over the past year, a series of captivating programs and events have been held, and the library is excited to present a few more before the festivities draw to an end. Those interested are advised to save the date for the 125 Years of Library History event on May 9, where they can enjoy an intriguing Q&A session, tour the library’s grounds, and partake in refreshments in the scenic garden.

Moreover, on May 31, the library will host a BBQ featuring Ben Lash at the Black Ford Commons Amphitheater, as well as a Sock Hop on May 26. Attendees can sign up for Summer Reading, grab a snack from the Grunt Grub food truck, and groove to the music of local DJ Ed Gutchall. 

The modest origins of Marvin Memorial Library can be traced back to June 4, 1897, when it functioned as a reading room for factory workers in a small rented space at the Sutter-Higgins block on East Main Street. The first librarian, Miss Carrie Marvin, managed a collection of just 300 books. Her uncle, Daniel Marvin, a Civil War veteran and philanthropist, identified the need for improved facilities and bought a house on West Whitney Avenue for $6,500, which he generously donated to the city. The Classic Revival and Greek Revival house, originally constructed in 1867 by Dr. William Riley Bricker, a physician, would become the library’s home.

Throughout the early 20th century, the Marvin Memorial Library underwent a series of enhancements focused on elevating its appearance and functionality. In 1904, a front portico and columns were installed according to Marvin’s vision, giving the entrance a more imposing look. In 1909, the front porch was remodeled, further refining the library’s exterior. The improvements persisted in 1925 with the construction of a room on the north side of the house, providing additional space to meet the library’s expanding requirements.

Over the following decades, the library continued to adapt and grow to better serve its patrons. In 1964, a new addition was constructed west of the house, featuring a basement workspace, storage for newspapers and magazines, and restrooms. In 1987, the library’s original section received national recognition when it was included in the National Register of Historic Places. A few years later, in 1990, the library underwent its most recent renovation, which encompassed the creation of extra workspace, a new circulation desk, an elevator, a redesigned staircase to the basement, and a new entrance and foyer. This renovation reaffirmed the library’s dedication to offering an outstanding experience for all visitors.

Source: Marvin Memorial Library

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