HISTORY OF MUNISING SCHOOL PUBLIC LIBRARY
There is a rich history of libraries here. Munising has had a library open to the public since 1891 when the first reference to the library was in the news paper, reporting that the library was being moved from the Old Munising (Tannery) school to the new Central School which sat on the site of the present Mather Elementary. In the 1920s when Mr. Abel was Superintendent of Schools. His secretary, Lucille Buckley, managed the school library after her office work was finished each day. In 1920 When the school burned to the ground, the community lost it’s public library. When Mather opened, it did so with a completely new library, the list of new books having been approved by the State Librarian for all to enjoy, students and public alike.
Beo Mitchell was “always reading”was asked to become the school librarian shortly after her high school graduation in 1923. Beo stayed 18 years.
At the time there was no degree program in library science, and the school librarians were selected from among the teachers in the Mather School. Following Mrs. Mitchell, there were many who took the lead at the library to serve both students and public alike. The list of Librarians to follow includes Edna Anthony, Lydia LeVernois, Martha VanEtten, Dorothy Smuck, and then Margaret Whitman. They continued to build up the Munising School Public Library in the northwest corner of the Mather Building, the local school which then served grades kindergarten through twelve. At some time in the 6os, the books overflowed and the library expanded into two rooms in that corner of the building.
Dick Masters, an ex-Marine and an American history teacher in the high school for six years, became the librarian in 1967 and served in that capacity until 1993. Paul Olson followed Masters, as Library Director and high school librarian until 2000. Charlotte Dugas became Director in Spring 2000. During that time, the auto shop was renovated in the High School and our present Munising School Public Library was moved downstairs to the west entrance where it is today. Charlotte retired in 2009 and Lisa Cromell was hired as the Library Director and serves in that role today.
Since the 60’s there have been many public librarians who have been certified to fill that capacity and assist the Director with running the library. Pat Broda, Carol Estep, Betty Karbon, Delores Luczak, Lisa Cromell, Heather Crozier, Jessica Holman, Michael Dennis, Bonnie Rodriguez, Raelene Reilly, Amanda Draves, and Kristin Fondriest that have worked under the Library Director and served the public patrons. When the new high school was built on the bay the Library Director/high school librarian moved with it. At that time, the school public library remained in the Mather building location. It served the middle school and public patrons as well.
Advisory Board members have changed over the years but some local residents who served on the Library Board include Norma Harger, Connie DeFrancesco and Mary Nebel, Mary Turvey, Anita Hulse, Becky Hennessey, Carol Estep, Tom Luckey, Dick Hale, Greg Revord, Carol Verbunker, Sarah Redmond, Tina Graber, Pam Adams, and Janet Malone, Lora Loope and April Lark. Tina Graber served continually on the Library Board except for four years in the 1980’s until 2018. Current members are Michelle Hach, Carole Horne, Jolene Hetherington, Suzette Carberry, and Jaymie Depew. Also serving on the Advisory Board have been several School Board liaison members, including Daryl Stone, Walt Loope, Anne O’Neil and Jason Brisson.
Munising has a rich history and its school public library is a part of that long history. Many local residents have helped the library grow and expand, and local residents as well as summer visitors use the library for reference information, computer and wifi access, business services, and pleasure reading. The Munising School Public Library now serves thousands of cardholders across Alger County and continues to benefit from its long time affiliation with the Superiorland Library Cooperative to bring the best possible library service to the patrons who use it.