DL Library Club celebrates 100 years

Sept. 9, 1907: "A number of women met with Mrs. Bohlauder. The Bay View Reading Circle, having decided to change its course of study and in having been recommended that a women's club take its place, dissolved, in order that this club might be fo...

Sept. 9, 1907: "A number of women met with Mrs. Bohlauder. The Bay View Reading Circle, having decided to change its course of study and in having been recommended that a women's club take its place, dissolved, in order that this club might be formed."

That comes from the minutes of the first meeting establishing the Library Club in hen Detroit.

This week, the club celebrates 100 years.

"They started as a study club, and study they did," Librarian Mary Haney said.

Preserved are the booklets from each year the Library Club has existed. Each booklet lists the monthly meeting topics and who was a part of the club that year.


At the Sept. 16, 1907, meeting, the name was voted to be The Library Club. The object of the club was "the intellectual and moral uplift of our young people."

Although some changes have been made over the years -- they used to meet twice a month and now only once --many things have carried on through the years. The club takes summers off, still has music and book reviews as part of the meetings, and "programs are still on topics of current interest," Haney said.

Looking back through past booklets, those current issues have obviously changed. In 1913-14, the women discussed suffrage, for example.

In 1907, records show the first study for the year was Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

"They presented a program throughout the school year for 100 years. That's a lot of programs," Haney said.

One thing that barely changed over time -- "dues went up 50 cents," Haney said.

When the club formed, dues were $1.50. They're now $2.

At the Sept. 24, 1907, meeting, the group decided to join the Federation of Women's Club.


That day 16 women signed the constitution and joined The Library Club as charter members.

After a January 1908 meeting where the women had a state representative come to help them organize, in 1913, the club received a grant from the Carnegie Foundation to build a library building.

The grant built the building, but it was still the women's responsibility to run the library and stock the shelves with books. They also asked the city to take over responsibility of the building because it was a "necessary institute for the city of Detroit," Haney said.

Not only did the women hold book fairs with used books, they also provided new books for sale because there likely wasn't a bookstore in Detroit at the time.

Over time, the Friends of the Library evolved from Library Club in order to do fund-raising and other sponsored events at the library. The Library Club remains the social aspect of the library, Haney said.

The board president for the last six years has been Sally Oja, who also first served as president in 1966-67. Other board members include Ruby Renner, Muriel Mollberg, Shirley Finn, Beverly Wething, Dorothy Poffenberger, Nora Johnson, Marlys Douglas and Haney. The membership is 75-80 strong.

To honor its 100th birthday, the Library Club is hosting a kick-off party, a murder mystery party.

On Tuesday, Erin Hart, author of "Haunted Ground" and "Lake of Sorrows," is visiting, along with her husband, Paddy O'Brien, an Irish musician.


Hart began in theater before turning to writing crime fiction. Her love for Ireland is shown through her novels.

Hart and O'Brien live in Minnesota, and they make frequent trips to Ireland.

O'Brien has collected more than 3,000 compositions, which he plays on his accordion, and has been acknowledged through many awards.

The celebration begins at 2 p.m. in Trinity Lutheran Church. It is open to the public, and refreshments will be served. The Library Club usually meets the fourth Tuesday of each month in the Library.

"It's the 100th birthday. Can't let that go by," Haney said of the planned celebration.

The following month, Oct. 23, Anna Dee Olson will talk about her book, "Growing Up Amish," in the library's meeting room.

Scheduled for April, forensic pathologist and author Janis Amatuzio will speak about her book "Forever Ours: Real Stories of Immortality and Living from a Forensic Pathologist."

All Library Club programs are open to the public.


Besides the prosperity of the Library Club, the library building has followed suit.

Because of increasing numbers at the library, there is a need for more room as well. The library board has talked with an architect, and Haney said she expects to hear ideas on the concept plan for an expansion in October.

"We know there is a real need. We're just taking first baby steps," she said. "The library is so used. We get more complaints of parking, or lack of parking."

Library activities

At the library, there is bound to be something for everyone.

-- A memoir writing group meets Oct. 15 and Nov. 19 from 3 to 4 p.m.

-- A book discussion on Oct. 16 is on "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson, and Nov. 20 is "Everything is Illuminated" by Jonathan Safran Foer.

-- Genealogy classes are Sept. 21, Oct. 12 and Nov. 30 from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Call the library at 847-2168 to pre-register.


-- A Christmas open house is Dec. 14 from 2 to 5 p.m. Enjoy hot cider and cookies.

-- There is a host of different computer classes as well.

-- Read With a Dog is every Tuesday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Call to reserve a 10-minute session.

-- Author bingo is Sept. 20 at 4 p.m.

-- Pumpkin art is Oct. 18 at 4 p.m. The library provides the pumpkins and the art supplies, you bring the imagination.

-- Children's book week and costume party is Nov. 15 at 4 p.m. Come dressed as a character from your favorite book. There will be prizes, food and fun.

-- Teen Read Week is Oct. 14-20. Stop in and vote off the least funny book each day to see which survives. On Oct. 19, play Laugh-Off Survivor. Tell a joke to avoid getting kicked out of your tribe. For kids grades 6-12.

-- Teen Poetry Slam is Sept. 24 from 2 to 3 p.m. There will be cash prizes. Refreshments will be served.


-- Banned Books Week is Sept. 29-Oct. 6. Treasure your freedom to read.

-- Storytime is Thursdays and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. for toddlers 0-3 years and preschoolers 3-6 years.

For more information on any of the events, contact the library at 847-2168 or visit .

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