York, Pa.’s, Martin Library observing 75 years in the reading business
The first staff of York, Pa.’s, Martin Library in 1936 included a few paid workers and many volunteers, according to a library news release. Miss Shorey, second from right at rear, and her younger sister, Priscilla, whom she raised, center, rear are part of this staff photograph. Miss Shorey lived at the Brownstone building next door, and Priscilla grew up helping at the library. Also of interest: Old Martin factory to become housing complex and York’s Martin Library’s old doors tell a story and York County libraries offer serendipity – and have done so for decades.
Martin Library and York County Library System have released a chronology of key moments in the 75 years that York, Pa.’s, Martin has been open.
Here are some interesting stats: Martin Library plays host to about 40,000 visitors a month or nearly 500,000 a year. This year, about 1.2 million people visited libraries in the county through Sept. 30.
The chronology, released on the eve of Martin’s 75th anniversary, officially celebrated Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010:
1916: The Martin Library Association is incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the York County Court of Common Pleas appoints five directors. Milton Martin’s donation is not enough to build and stock a library, so the money is invested to accumulate more funds.
1920: The association buys the lot at the corner of Market and Queen streets where the library now stands. Local architect Frederick G. Dempwolf designs the Colonial-style building.
1934: Construction begins, and on Halloween eve in 1935, Martin Memorial Library officially opens its doors.
1935: Katherine Shorey begins her 35-year tenure as the collection’s first librarian. Shorey’s warm personality set the tone for the library, spokesman Georg Sheets said.
“She was very empathetic, and she was very user-friendly,” he said. “That has carried over to today. All of our staff people try to make people feel welcome.”
1963: Martin Library is appointed one of the first District Libraries in the state, providing reference materials for York and Adams counties.
1950s: Martin Library begins its popular bookmobile program serving students in the York City School District.
1955: A groundbreaking is held for a 50-by-60-foot Children’s Wing addition at the Queen Street building. The new space features a large picture window and a fountain. The Children’s Library serves 4,500 children in its first year.
1974: The York County Library System is created to share materials more efficiently and increase funding opportunities.
1981: Martin Library’s Summer Reading Club begins with 50 children.
1987: The Library Shop opens, selling book-related merchandise. The shop offers book searches before the days of computers and attracts visiting authors to the library.
1988: The library’s first female president, Frances Wolf, is named and partnerships are forged with the York City School District and the York YMCA. Annual circulation expands to half a million items.
2005: The library unveils an $8 million renovation and expansion featuring a coffee shop, a 55-foot atrium and new technology.
2008: Sunday hours are established, driving visits to the library to record highs. In 2010, the library averages 41,000 visitors per month, peaking in August at 46,244.
Also of interest:
For a profile of Milton D. Martin, visit Georg Sheets’ piece: Recalling Martin Library’s founder on its 75th anniversary.
For a York Daily Record/Sunday News story on the 75th, visit: Martin Library in York celebrates 75 years.