The First Library in East Jordan

In March 1917, the first organizational meeting was held to formulate plans to build a public library in East Jordan. In May, a board of directors was elected and a request made to the Carnegie Foundation to ascertain if the offer to give $10,000 for the erection of a library building in East Jordan would still be good one year from that date if the Board deferred building until that time.
In March of 1918, other services required to build the library were contracted. The total cost of the building came to $9,453.25. In October of that year the furniture was bought and Mrs. A.E. Sunstedt was hired as the librarian. The first board meeting was held on July 7, 1919, followed by an open house four days later to celebrate the new library at its Main Street location.

By October 1919, 1,115 people had visited the new library. Because the 2,000 square foot upper level was adequate for the library collection at the time, the lower level was used as offices for East Jordan Iron Works and later converted to storage space. This was used as a library until September 1989 when the library operation was moved to its present site at One Library Lane.

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Through the Years

In November of 1985, the East Jordan Public Library became the Jordan Valley District Library. To do so, it required the approval of two governmental units. The city of East Jordan and the East Jordan School District were those two. On Monday, June 9, 1986, voters approved a one-mill levy for ten years for the library. This provided a stable annual budget. The school district acted as collector for the library's millage, but the library was its own entity, controlled by its own board. The board consisted of four members appointed by the city and four by the school district.


A New Library Building

Planning for the new library began in March 1988 after the Malpass Foundation generously offered to build the new 10,000 square foot $450,000-plus library. Ground breaking took place in July 1988, and the new building opened February 15, 1989.
The new library was officially dedicated on Saturday, September 9, 1989. Most of the building's new furniture and equipment was donated by local patrons, businesses, or service organizations.
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The Original Building Lives On

Even before beginning construction of the new library, the library board offered a lease on the old building in May 1988 to an organization dedicated to the arts. Jordan River Arts Council was officially formed and bylaws adopted. On Monday, June 26, 1989, the library changed hands when the Jordan River Arts Council accepted a three-year lease on the building.

The 1990's

On Monday, May 9, 1994, the voters approved the same one-mill levy that had been approved by the voters in 1986. The Library had lost its one-mill when school funding was cut by the state in 1993. The Library started receiving its tax money directly from the six governmental units, rather than being collected by the school district.

On Monday, July 22, 1996, the Library held an open house to celebrate a $170,000 renovation to the library. An automation system replaced the card catalog. Five public access computers were available for looking up materials. This renovation project was budgeted for four years and was completed without any additional debt to the taxpayers.

In January 1997, free direct Internet access became available to patrons on two computers in the Reference area. These two computers eventually turned into four. In addition to Internet access, these computers have links to two full-text magazine databases.

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The Library Today

Jordan Valley District Library currently serves 7535 residents in its district (which has the same boundaries as the East Jordan School District).
The Jordan Valley District Library Endowment Fund is through the Charlevoix County Community Foundation. Contact the Library for information.


Past Librarians & Library Directors

Dawn LaVanway
Mickey (Louise) Hamerski
Leden Brintneall
Miss Leila Clink
Mrs. Empey
Mrs. A.E. Sunstedt
1955-Sept. 1966
Oct. 1918-1923
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