In 1931 at Clyde High School, the Librarian Ruth M. Knapp and Principal E. O. Lansing interested the Board of Education in the announcing of an open public meeting to consider the planning of a Galen Free Library. Authorization was given for the use of a corner of the school library for housing books.
At such a meeting the Galen Free Library was organized and the following - Richard Hunt, Mr. E. C. Wood, Mrs. A. D. Collier, Jesse Petteys, Mrs. L. P. Hunt- were elected as the first Board of Trustees. A gift of fifteen books was secured and the library opened with the slim resources as follows :
Books - 15
The Clyde Exchange Club undertook as a project the support of the library and a drive for gifts of suitable books was developed. And so a little library was born and its birth (incorporation) registered by the New York State Board of regents. It was poor dollarwise but rich spiritually with its HEAPS of POSSIBILITIES. Its home was a corner of the old high school and it never got lonesome because it shared its home with the high school coach and the high school athletes.
But hard times were ahead. The Exchange Club died and left the library orphaned. It could never be a REAL (chartered) library until it had :
Cash on Hand of $500
Nor could it ask for public tax support until it was a REAL LIBRARY. Fortunately the library still had its fairy godparents and like all good fairies they worked for the little library. They held a benefit movie; they had book drives; they asked their friends for money; and they had some helpers. Miss Mary Salerno and Miss Jane Compitello helped the High School librarian so she could catalog the books. The state loaned books and gave advice.
Finally in 1934 the little library had grown enoughto become a REAL LIBRARY. It got provisional charter and then Trustees Richard Hunt and Petteys asked the town and village Boards for tax support. It got a slightly larger home when part of the hall was partitioned off and the athletes moved elsewhere. The Library Study club was founded in October 1935 and they adopted the Galen Free Library as its community project at the suggestion of Miss Smith and Miss Murphy.
The Library Study club found the library a rented home of its own at Mrs. Dennison's home AND they helped furnish it and raise money for the rent. People came to see the library and then went home to get books off their own shelves to give to the library. The Reverend Father Cuddy RAIDED the libraries of his relatives and friends for books for the library. Even the govenment gave the library a boost. At the request of Mr. Lansing, Miss Morey was assigned as a library worker and several N.Y. workers were assigned also to help the library grow into a bigger library. Now the library could give service to shut-ins, service to schools, and more books to borrowers. By 1936 the book stock was 12,188 !
But, alas, the years brought changes. The United States withdrew its helpers in 1939, and all the library could afford to pay the staff was $2 per week. Netty Vanderbilt and R. Crowell were found who were willing to work for $2, experience and LOVE OF BOOKS.
Again tragedy struck. The library was homeless in 1945. The fairy godparents scurried around and found a home above the Market Basket on Glasgow St. downtown. With many helpers the room was renovated and the library opened again. As growing children need more things, so did the growing library. The trustees decided to ask the taxpayers for $1200 and this sum was voted in a special election in 1946. Now the library had a stable budget to depend on.
In 1955 through much hard work, the library acquired the Baptist Church on the corner of Sodus St. and North Park St.. They also became members of the Wayne County Library System. There the library stayed and continued to grow until 1995. By the 1990s the little church building was bursting at its seams. The board of trustees investigated several options, and decided to purchase the Market Basket which had recently gone out of business. So the library has a new home--a beautiful, spacious home at 204 Glasgow St.
Mrs. Ryther, 1931-1956