Starke County

 

Starke County Libraries

The Starke County Library System
The movement to establish a public library began in the Knox area in 1919 by a group of 76 people. They were diligent in their efforts, contacting the state library to get information on how to start a library, soliciting donations of books, and cataloguing and organizing the volumes they received. They named their first librarian, and opened the Henry F. Schricker Public Library on June 16, 1919, with an initial collection of 400 books.

Funds that support the Starke County Library
  • Starke County Public Library System Endowment

In 1919, the library had 637 cardholders. It now has 12,703 Starke County resident cardholders, and another 1,189 non-resident cardholders.

The services the library provides have also evolved. In 1919, the only service provided was a book mobile, which was started up for the Starke County area. Today, there are educational classes on various topics, such as historical events or family relations. There are also regular crochet and knit classes, children story time, toddler story time, family story time, a home school program, technology classes, and many more.

Over time, the library system has gone through many changes. The Henry F. Schricker Library was moved several times before finally settling at its current location. Perhaps the biggest change that the library has undergone is the addition of library branches. Branches were added in Koontz Lake and San Pierre in 1970 and then in Hamlet in 1980 in order to expand the service area. Another big change has been the explosion of technological advances. The library catalogue is available on the computer, and there are computers and Wi-Fi provided for public use.

About two years ago, e-books were also added to the available technology at the library. Their popularity has increased, and the circulation has risen; however, the librarians do not think that the importance of physical books will ever be diminished.

Funds that support the North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library
  • North Judson - Wayne Township Public Library Endowment Fund
  • Kathleen and Gerald Paras Family Fund

The North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library
Around 1914, a minister and many community members started thinking about establishing a library in North Judson. In the 1920s, there was a flowering of civic pride, and finally, the North Judson-Wayne Township Library was opened. The building of the library cost about $12,000 and was funded by a Carnegie grant. This library was one of the last ten libraries in Indiana to receive one of these grants.

Carnegie would only give grants to those who agreed to build the libraries according to one of three simple blueprints. The North Judson-Wayne Township Library was built according to one of these three plans.

It took quite a bit of time to get the project moving because this was during World War I, and the railroad was occupied with shipping materials for the war, so they would not ship the materials needed for the building. It was difficult to find men to work on the building as well because they were going overseas. However, it was finally built, and the first librarian, Laura Short, was appointed. She served as librarian from the opening until 1925.

The library has gone through many changes since its opening in the 1920s. For example, the original budget for the year was about $1,000, which covered everything, including utilities and wages. In the 1930s, the budget was up to $2,200. The budget has drastically risen, with the most recent budget being $222,975.
However, the biggest change the library has faced has been the expansion of technology.
Over the years, various programs have been provided by the library, with children’s programs being the most popular. The “Read to a Dog Program,” is one in which children who are developing readers or who are shy can read to a dog in a nonjudgmental environment in order to overcome their fears.

Throughout the years, the library has been well supported by the community. Though the library has undergone many changes, the desire of the community to maintain the library has remained constant.