A History of the Hastings Memorial Library
The library was founded by the Grant Women’s Club in 1920 and was originally supported with donated books and various fundraisers. Library committee members included: Dora Collier, May Beck, Blanche Parton, Millie Daiss. Mrs. Mowry, Mrs. C.H. Collier, and Mrs. C.E. Beck. Donated books were delivered to Miss May Beck’s room at the school and library patrons paid 5 cents to rent a book for a week. A year later, the library was organized in Maude Beck’s Suitatorium Cleaning Establishment and Ms. Beck served as librarian.
In December 1926, the Women’s Club purchased two lots and a building for $1225.00 paying $225.00 down and borrowing the rest at 7% interest. Two years later, a fire broke out in the library causing $185.00 in damages. In 1940, the lots owned by the club were offered for sale by sealed bids. The club accepted an offer of $131.35 for the house which was moved from the lots. In 1944, the lots were rented to O.E. Gauger as a parking space at $8.00 per month. In 1948, the village of Grant took over operation of the library from the Women’s Club.
The library moved up and down Main Street for several years, taking up residence in various store fronts. In 1951, the Jackman family offered part of their law office to be used as the library. The library made use of this space, rent-free for the next ten years. At this point, the library’s collection was at over 4,000 volumes. In 1961, the library moved to the Hake building paying $75.00 a month in rent. In May 1967, the library finally acquired a permanent home. Area attorney George B. Hastings bequeathed his law office building to the city of Grant in his will with instructions that it be used as a permanent home for the library. The Hastings family requested that the library thereafter be known as the Hastings Memorial Library, in memory of their late daughter Frances Elizabeth Hastings. After some cleaning and renovation, the library moved into its new quarters on December 7, 1967 and remained at that location for the next 36 years.
In February 1996, the library was closed for one month so that rooms could be painted and new carpet was laid. After starting the project, it was discovered that the walls needed replastered as well, which caused the library to be closed for an additional two months. The library received a grant for a new patron computer, summer reading programs were organized, and general library use was on the rise. As usage continued to rise, it was soon apparent that the library needed a bigger space to call home. In October 2001, library Board of Trustee members Ronda Lawyer, Darlene Stinette, Charlotte Kumor, Brenda Styskal, and Larry Peterson accepted the deed to the Grant Masonic Temple. The Masons gifted the building to be used as a new facility for the library.
A Friends of the Library group was also organized at this time. Founding members included: Jody Snogren, Shari Sexson, Paige Reichert, Shari Friedel, Ann Higgins, Kathy Woodmancy, Deanne Bishop, and librarian Sally Borowski. These women were instrumental in organizing fundraisers for the renovation that was required before the library could be moved into the new building. Soon, a library foundation was formed so that tax-deductible donations could be made to the library. Charter foundation members included: Eloise Hughes, Dennis Barkley, Mary Buss, Gertrude Hundhausen, and Burle Newth.
Through the support of the community and surrounding area, the renovation project began in June 2003. After many hours of contracted labor and volunteer work (especially by the Grant Rotary Club who adopted the library renovation as their Centennial Project), renovation was completed the first part of September. Then the task of relocating the library began. Members of the community stepped forward again as books, shelving units, and computers were moved down Main Street to the new location. On September 21, 2003, the Hastings Memorial Library opened for business at 505 Central Avenue. An open house was held on October 19, 2003 inviting the public to come and view the new facility and celebrate the 80th anniversary of the library. The library’s collection now held 10,000 volumes, 8 public computers, and a community room.
The library has been blessed with several librarians throughout its history. They include: Miss Maude Beck, Mrs. Pringle, Mrs. C.E. Beck, Mrs. Pierpoint, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Craige, Mrs. Olsen, Mrs. McQuiston, Miss May Beck, Mrs. Willard (Grace) Stoltz, Mrs. A.E. (Helen) Chase, Charlotte Kumor, Fern Benge, Sally Borowski, and current librarian, Robin Quinn.
In addition to Ms. Quinn, Val Foster and Sarah Pick serve as Assistant Librarians. Current library Board of Trustees members include: Ashley Colglazier, Deb Marshall, Brenda Styskal, Dan Thompson, and Jeff Wallin. The library’s collection now holds over 14,000 volumes and includes fiction and non-fiction books for all ages, audio books on CD, DVD’s and videos, magazines, and an extensive local history and genealogy collection. We offer 8 public access computers with high speed broadband internet access, color and black and white printing capabilities, and scanning, fax and photocopying services. The library also subscribes to Overdrive, an online service that allows patrons to download audio books, digital magazines, and e-Books to MP3 players, desktops, laptops, tablets, e-Readers, and smart phones. Hastings Memorial Library continues to grow, adapting to the surrounding community as well as an ever-changing world. The library takes pride in offering excellent service to its patrons and will continue to do so for many years to come.