The Challenges

The decade of the 50s was one of growth in library services. The Jackson County Library Program quickly outgrew its space and moved to a new building on West Avenue in 1954. The “neighborhood branch,” or what’s more commonly known as the Bookmobile, provided easy access to books. The County also had a similar service….

The County Library

A Varied Diet At the turn of the 20th Century, the state library established “traveling libraries,” which provided rural areas with books; these became so successful that people wanted permanent libraries in their own communities. Several varieties of libraries popped up in the county, from the private library that Miss Nellie Young operated out of…

The Hub

The new Public Library quickly became a Hub providing services and meeting facilities for a variety of patrons: book clubs, garden groups, genealogical societies, and the Boy and Girl Scouts, to name a few. Men checked out books to study farming methods, learn repair techniques, and find out about the latest in technology. One of…

The Munificent Gift

  Old Friends Mrs. R. H. ( Zelie) Emerson, a member of the Jackson Library Committee, wrote Carnegie, via his secretary, asking for the additional funds to “build the building Jackson deserves.” They were indeed old friends. As a young girl, Zelie Passavant and Andrew Carnegie had even spoken of marriage. Her father, William Passavant,…

The Free Public Library

While the YMA was open only to members, public-spirited men such as W.H. Withington, George Dodge, and Michael Shoemaker were instrumental in the opening of a free public library in Jackson. As YMA president, George Dodge declared: Let this free library be once established, and every citizen will look upon it with pride, would willingly…

The Collective Good

In 1854, young businessmen in the Jackson community formed a mutual improvement society. Jackson’s Young Men’s Association (YMA) aimed to address issues of moral and political philosophy. In its early years, the YMA sponsored debates, provided free public lectures, and attempted to establish a reading room. Strong political feelings of the day prevented the organization…



Each month, to mark the occasion of 150 years of library service in Jackson county, this blog will feature an excerpt from Lynne Loftis and Diana Agy‘s research into the history of the Jackson District Library.

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