New Plymouth Library History
By Armoral M. Tuttle
Though Mrs. Tuttle modestly refrains from mentioning it, in her brief history at our local Library, her many hours of work and friendly service are rewarded by the eager youngsters and grown-ups who avail themselves of the Library facilities. She never mentions that if it weren’t for her personal efforts on behalf of this worthy community service, there very likely would not be a library in New Plymouth of the caliber and extent most of us take for granted.
Sometime about 1916 a group of women under the leadership of Mary A. Trayer, met to consider the need for a library in New Plymouth. By taking books from their own shelves and by donations of books from their friends in the east, enough books were collected to start a small library which was first situated in a little front parlor of the Bowers Hotel on Main Street.
For some time the women of this group took turns acting as librarian but the volunteer system finally broke down and it was feared the Library would be forced to close.
The city council came to their rescue and agreed to pay $50 per year to hire a librarian. Mrs. Henry Sundles was the first paid librarian and she served for several years. In 1921, due to ill-health she had to give up the work and Mrs. Ray Tuttle, the assistant librarian, was hired to replace her. Mrs. Tuttle served, off and on, for many years and then became the full-time librarian in 1937.
The Library has been located in various places since its beginning. Its first move was from the hotel to the little gray school house, then to a room in the Pioneer building and next to the old city fire house where there was no rent to pay.
The Women’s Civic Club, an auxiliary to the Men’s Commercial Club, sponsored the Library for several years. During this time enough money was made to buy a small house and two lots near the Baptist Church. This house was remodeled and used by the Library until its final move to its present location in the City Hall.
In 1950, when the City Hall was built, the Library building and lots were deeded to the city in return for a permanent home.
Besides furnishing heat, lights and a well cared for room the City Council provides $100 a year for the purchase of books This has been greatly appreciated since, without this help, the Library would probably not be in existence today.
Mrs. Ray Tuttle