HUNTERTOWN LIBRARY BRANCH
In September 1921 at the Allen County Fair in Huntertown, the public library had a booth showing aspects of planned service to the residents of Allen County. The county fair “seemed the psychological time to bring home to the county people in general a realization of what book service might mean to them,” said County Librarian CORINNE METZ at the time. “Huntertown was to be one of our branch towns, so we hurried through the preparation of the initial book collection for the Huntertown Branch and arranged the exhibit to represent a branch library.”
Two months later, on November 10, 1921, the first public library branch outside of the Fort Wayne city limits opened in the Directors’ Room of the Huntertown State Bank. Three hundred books were on the shelves at its opening.
By November 1921, library officials already were beginning to discuss construction of a separate building for Huntertown Branch because of its high volume of business. Sixty books were borrowed in the first week of the branch’s existence, and 157 were circulated as of the first circulation report, made the first week of Decem-ber. In December alone, Huntertown Branch circulated 275 volumes, of which 125 were fiction, thirty-seven were non-fiction, and 118 were juvenile books. Circulation continued to increase in 1922. In January, the branch circulated 328 volumes. Most of its patrons were older people and two-thirds of the branch’s circulation was attributed to them.
September 30, 1924, Huntertown Branch reopened in a building constructed for its use. It was the first of the county branches to have its own building. Money had been donated by citizens of the community to finance relocating the branch. CHARLES HARTUNG of the county library Board spoke about the branch at its dedication September 27th. He noted that contributions for the library building came from everyone in the community, rather than from a few wealthy citizens, so that upon its dedication, the Huntertown Branch truly belonged to the citizens of the town. BERT J. GRISWOLD gave the dedication address, titled “The Public Library as a Personal Friend.” ELIZABETH KELL was branch librarian at the time of the building’s opening.
By January 1929, the four county branches – Huntertown, New Haven, Monroeville, and Harlan – each had its own separate building erected on a lot presented to the library Board by the community. Each branch had a paid librarian who was from the area, regular open hours, a monthly story hour for children, a growing collection of books, a catalog, and reference aids. Branches were in contact with the main library by telephone for special requests. Branches also often had special exhibits of books. MARIE WALTER was librarian in 1934.
After reducing hours earlier in the decade, Huntertown Branch began opening again Monday through Saturday in 1935, and saw an increase of 150 percent in circulation in November of that year over November of 1934. Summer hours for 1936 were 2 to 5 p.m. Monday and Thursday and 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.
Huntertown Branch was listed in the Fort Wayne and Allen County directories for 1939, 1943, and 1955. In 1953, it was listed in the library’s annual report, but was located at Huntertown High School by then, no longer in its own building. Huntertown Branch closed after 1955.
In 1984, a survey recommended the Pine Valley area or Huntertown as a branch location. However no action was taken toward attaining this goal until 1987, when it was decided to establish new branches in the Aboite and Pine Valley areas.