Issue 12-28-14 Website - page 11

When The LibraryWas Above The Saloon
Iwasasked theotherdayabout
LeRoy’s early libraries. It’s hard
to imagine a time when books
were so scarce that often the
only bookwas the familyBible.
There is mention of a library in
the schoolhouseonAsburyRoad
in 1821. And Erastus Bailey in
Roanoke was known to have a
“farmer’s library” in his home.
One of my favorite stories
about a library in LeRoy was
written by Edward Bangs who
wrote about his father’s library:
“In regard to my father’s books
–hehada law libraryofbetween
four and five thousand volumes
which failed to holdmy interest
but he had an extremely general
libraryofabout thesamesize that
took agooddeal ofmy time. He
selected thesebooksonastraight
individualistic basis. He had no
Bookof theMonthClub toguide
him so he just went ahead and
bought the books that hewanted
by the simple process of going
Shop inRochester and browsing
around until he saw one that he
liked. He then started at once,
while itwashot, to read it–partly
in the store – partly on the street
car–butmostlyon theRochester
and State Line R.R. where time
was forgotten.
This readingon thecars, itwas
freelypredictedwouldend inevi-
tably in the ruinationof his eyes,
but nothingof thekindhappened
even after he added the practice
of reading in bed. He not only
loved books per se as a biblio-
phile does, but he alsowished to
knowwhatwas in them.
In those days most books and
magazines came with uncut
leaves and hewould readwith a
papercutter inonehand, slashing
This made an excellent way of
marking his progress and was
less destructive than the practice
of aman Ionceknewwhowould
tearout a leafafterhehad read it.
My fatherwasbornwithhis love
forbooksbut itwas intensifiedby
thescarcityofbooks inhisyouth.
Healwayskept thefirstbook that
he bought.”
Therewereotherearly libraries.
There is a briefmentionof a cir-
culating library at the book store
for young men in
1832. InghamUni-
a libraryasearlyas
1837, with 2,600
volumes. Mrs.
Emily Ingham
Staunton main-
tained a private li-
which had been
collected by her
husband, Phineas
Staunton, primari-
ly dealingwith art
and art history.
Later, two Ing-
ham organizations
established librar-
ies: theAltoniaSo-
ciety had a library
of 450 volumes
which was estab-
lished in 1854. A
published list of
thebooks included
topics of science,
history, poetry,
travel, fiction, biography, and
religion. In 1865, the Concordia
Society had a library of 375
Other people associated with
theUniversity includedReverend
Parsons who had 800 books and
Dr. Van Lennop whose library
of 739 volumes were written in
eleven different languages.
Across the street, at theLeRoy
Academic Institute, Principal
Russellhadestablished theLyce-
umLibraryand theLeRoyAcad-
emy had a library that had been
donatedbyJ.R.Anderson. There
is an account of a circulating li-
brary in1870with500books,but
afire destroyed all but 60.
Then in the winter of 1873,
“therepassedover theVillageof
sionasanxiety feltmainlyamong
themothers regarding the future
of their sons and daughters. The
anxiety was well founded for
intemperance and immorality
stalkedboldly through thestreets
of the Village and not only at-
tracted the youth of the Village
but intrigued them with false
visions of personal liberty and
freedom. ...Awakened to thepos-
sibledangerof thisevil influence
on the young people of LeRoy,
a group of women recognized
in their day as able instructors,
devoted mothers, capable home
makers,and loyalchurchwomen,
tookupon themselves thediffer-
ent tasksof trying toalleviate the
One of the solutions was the
establishment of a new library
althoughAlbert Bangs’ account
doesn’t describe a very good
situation. It seems that the library
was on the second floor in the
back of a building on the south
side of Main Street. Unfortu-
nately “one of the saloons was
under it and it was thought that
the drunks instead of lying nor-
mally in the gutter as was their
hole up in the library, although
obviously not a member. I had
the irregular job of collecting
and transporting reading matter
to the library. Later whenMel
King, the constable had taken
up thematter with the drunks, it
was thoughtpossible to lengthen
the hours andmy jobwas given
over toa larger boywhowas im-
pervious to night air. We called
been his name, but he answered
to it.”
The library moved from the
Annin Store in the Lampson
block, to theLeRoyTimesbuild-
ing, to theCitizensBankbuilding
in 1896, then to Steuber’s Store
in theArcade building, and then
to thebackof theoldPostOffice
building. Finally in1907, through
the librarymoved to thehouseon
the corner of Bacon Street and
Lake Street. The librarywas lo-
cated in two roomsheatedand lit
bygas. MissKatherineCameron
was the librarian and itwas open
Monday evening, Wednesday
and evening. In1908, the library
received itsabsolutecharter from
the NewYork State Department
of Education.
In 1930, the Woodward Me-
morial LibraryonWolcott Street
1...,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20
Powered by FlippingBook