History of the Library

June 1904 

The Farmers Social Club held a meeting where they decided to start a public library for Orion. 

January 10, 1905

The Reading Room was opened to the public in the Opera House. The room was rented for $15 a month and was open every week night and on Tuesday and Saturday afternoons. The Opera House was located around 309 10th Ave, across the street from where The O Kitchen and Tap is currently located.

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April 1905

A one-mill tax for the library was put in place during the election. Soon after, the library was passed from the Farmers Social Club to the township. 

January 1, 1907

The library moved into two rooms on the second floor of the State Bank of Orion. The rooms were rented for $75 a year and half of the electric bill.

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November 1910

The library board decided to buy and remodel a residence. 

1911

The library moved into the residence. This house stood where the current library stands.

September 2, 1932

The library received numerous donations and were able to build a new building. The residence was moved to Mr. Charles Gustafson's property, a little over a block away on Washington Street (which is now 12th Street). This house is still there, though additions have been added on. The new library building cost $14,597.

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1979

An addition was put on the back side of the library. 

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1994

The first Public Access Computer was purchased with funds donated by the Orion Fall Festival.

Fun Facts:

  • Mrs. Katherine Harless was the first librarian and she worked for 50 cents each afternoon or evening that she worked.

  • Abigail Gustafson had recalled that the librarian, Katherine Harless, did not want to remove the book jackets when she placed the books on the shelf, dreading the time when handling would “dim their freshness”. However, Katherine’s mother and Mr. Edgar Love encouraged her to remove them so that “the collection might look more like a library and less like a book store,”

  • When giving out “borrower cards”, Katherine and Mrs. Isabel Love decided not to give out card number thirteen. “They wanted everybody to have a fair start."

  • In 1907, three books had to be destroyed because they had been exposed to a contagious disease.