Columbia-Montour Quarterly Vol. 12: April-June 2024


by Jenn Puckett

“The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.” - Albert Einstein W hen I was kid, the library was one of my favorite places in the world. I’ve been a voracious reader all my life and standing in between row after row of books – thousands and thousands of them! – was almost overwhelming. In- side each was a portal to another world – fantasy lands, re- al-world science, even life advice. I found it hard to choose just a few and had to keep reminding myself I would have many more visits. Even knowing that, it was hard to figure out what to read first; there were so many choices. That was back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, long before the internet, virtual reality, and e-books. Before Zoom meet- ings and iPhones. But even further back, and I’m talking 1889 further back, some folks in Columbia County formed the non-profit “Bloomsburg Library Company” and hoped to raise $5,000. Unfortunately, they only were able to raise $105. Then in 1903, the Town invested over $1,000 dollars and the library found itself with a librarian and a physical address for the first time on the second floor of the Wool- worth’s Building. In 1913, the first phone was installed. By the 1920’s, it was obvious that more room was needed and funds were raised to build what is now half of the current library. Until 1997, the first floor was dedicated to a muse- um and the entire library was on the second floor. An ad- dition was added in 1998, doubling the size of the building and allowing for an expanded collection of multiple types of media. It’s an interesting story of a tenacious institution that our community can be proud of.

This postcard from 1927 shows the original Library building and automobiles parked in front.

Today the Bloomsburg Public Library is a large welcoming building on Market Street. When I walked in the front doors, the open floor with multiple sofas, comfortable looking chairs and tables invited me to settle in and stay for a while. Ammon Young, the new Director for the library came to meet me. He earned his Master of Library Science at Pitt in 1995, then worked in libraries and as a community organiz- er before serving as the Director for the Columbia County Traveling Library for eight years. When former Director Lyd- ia Kegler retired at the end of last year, Ammon brought his experience downtown and stepped into the role.


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