Knox County, Indiana
Since 1889
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History of the Knox County Library
A new century saw even further expansion of the Knox County Public Library. In 2000, the Brockman Funeral Home at 7th and Hart was acquired to house the library’s regional history/genealogy collection. After extensive renovations, this building, named the McGrady-Brockman House, opened to the public on March 18, 2002.
The Vincennes Public Library opened on the second floor of the Vincennes City Hall at 4th and Main Streets in April 1889. The dedication took place on April 18.
The Library had a modest beginning. It consisted of two rooms and held approximately 1,500 books. The collection included books from the Public School Library, the Township Library, and the Maclure Library (all defunct by that time), as well as many newly purchased volumes. Mary Wise Scott was the first librarian. She worked nine hours a day and received a salary of $21.50 a month. In the first three weeks after opening, over 400 books were checked out. The library would be housed in the city hall, with additional rooms added, for the next thirty years.
In 1916, the city of Vincennes received a $35,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation to build a library. The following year, the lot at the corner of 7th and Seminary was purchased for $12,000 and the general Gothic style building, designed by local architect John B. Bayard, was dedicated on April 15, 1919.
A branch library opened on the city’s north side in 1926, serving the community until 1972. A bookmobile began operation in 1962 and ran until 1996.
In 1976-77, a library addition was constructed providing 8,800 square feet of new space. The architect was the firm of Pecsok, Jelliffe & Randall, of Indianapolis, and the general contractor was Crane-Nolan Contractors, Inc. of Loogootee. The addition opened on October 17, 1977 and was dedicated on April 16, 1978. The same year the addition was dedicated the boards of the Vincennes Public Library and the Knox County Contractual Library (which operated the bookmobile) merged and the library’s name was changed to the Knox County Public Library.
In 1992, the library opened its Bloebaum-Fuller Annex on 7th Street across from the main building.
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