The story of the Deposit Free Library begins in 1929. At that time our community was home to a thriving women’s organization called the Civic Club. The ladies of this club were devoted to bettering the lives of Depositonians by performing good works. They also hosted countless activities including card parties, teas, musicals, and theatrical productions.
At the January 3, 1929 meeting a debate was held entitled “Deposit Needs a Library”. Following the debate, a vote was taken to establish an association library in Deposit. The goal was to make reading material available to every person in the community.
The library committee faced several major challenges. They needed to raise the funds necessary for start-up, find a location, and stock it with books. By February 1929 the campaign for funds had begun. All Deposit citizens were asked to make contributions of any amount. Civic Club canvassers went door to door in the village, and solicitation letters were sent to former residents. A goal of $1,500 was set, and a handmade wooden thermometer was put on display to track progress. The vast majority of donations ranged from 25 cents to $10, as very few people in that day could afford to give large amounts. The goal was reached by the target date of May 15th when the thermometer “mercury” went over the top!
The problem of a library location was also solved quickly. Floyd B. Smith, owner of the S.D. Smith Pharmacy, offered two rooms over the pharmacy rent free for a year. Several local businesses and craftsmen either donated or reduced costs for furnishings, flooring, plastering, painting, and other services. Citizens were encouraged to donate books from their personal collections to stock the shelves. Over 1,500 volumes of donated books were collected, recorded, and shelved.
By June the new library was almost finished. The Civic Club’s library committee members were elected as the first trustees of the Deposit Free Library. Their names appear on the original charter. These dedicated women were: Mrs. Millard H. Smith, Miss Mabel Sturdevant, Mrs. Arthur B. Kellogg, Mrs. Arthur J. Pierce, Mrs. Paul Dailey, Mrs. Paul Lynch, and Mrs. C.K. Brown.
The library was formally opened to the public on Saturday, July 6, 1929. The opening proved to be a huge success. Over 200 persons visited the rooms, and 150 books were checked out. The décor was pronounced “restful and dignified”. The front room boasted a reading table filled with current magazines and a selection of books in the Children’s Corner for young patrons. The library was opened three days every week.
The Civic Club’s goal was to provide free quality literature to all of the town’s citizens, with a special emphasis on providing the right kind of reading for its youth. One year later, a second fund-raising drive was held. Over 200 people paid an annual fee of $1.00 for the privilege of joining the library association and voting at elections. In 1930 the library boasted over 800 registered borrowers and a monthly circulation between 1,200 and 1,500 books.