Patrons and community members are invited to celebrate the80th birthday of the Huntingdon County Library, 300 Penn St., Huntingdon, at a party to be held from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22.
“We’re going to have balloons outside, cake and music as well as actors in period costume from the 1930s,” said Huntingdon County Library trustee Julie Peoples. “We’ll also have a number of informational items and scrapbooks on display dating from the start of the library.”
“The aim was to put a book into every resident’s hand,” Peoples said. “They wanted to reach as many people as they could. It was really important to them.”In the early 1930s, a group of concerned citizens began efforts to create a county library charged with spreading a love of reading to every single person inHuntingdon County.
Between 1,500 and 2,000 books were initially loaned to the newly established library by the state library in Harrisburg.
“At one point, the library was located in the basement of the courthouse and, at another point, it was associated with Juniata College,” she said. “The county government worked very hard with a lot of people in the community to get it started.”
In 1937, just two years after it was officially established, the Huntingdon County Library was one of only six county libraries in the state.
“We’ll have a display about the first bookmobile in the county, which was called ‘Selina,’ after Selina, the Countess of Huntingdon, for whom the town was named,” Peoples said. “There are also scrapbook clippings about the school children who donated pennies to help the library.”
When Huntingdon County Library benefactress Clara McMurtrie passed away in 1952, she bequeathed her property to be used as the library’s permanent home.
“We have pictures dating from when we moved into our current building,” she said. “There will also be a talk about Clara McMurtrie and how she gave the building to be made into the library.”
This year also marks the 80th birthday of the board game “Monopoly,” Ritz Crackers and Penguin Books, all of which will figure into the library’s celebration as well.
“Our raffle will have ‘Monopoly’ type prizes,” said Peoples. “We want to promote the library and our rich history.”
A guest book from the library’s last big anniversary celebration, its 40th, will be on display as well in hopes some of the original guests come to enjoy the festivities again. Guests will enjoy library tours and historical talks.
After 80 years of serving Huntingdon County, Peoples said the primary mission remains the same.
“The mission back then was to have a gathering point where people could share ideas and get freeaccess to books,” she said. “That’s still what we do.”
April can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.