Sullivan County first records a library
president and seven trustees elected in 1821. The location of
the library is unknown. Libraries were found through out the
county for the next 80 years.
In 1899 the Woman's Club began a drive
to establish a Carnegie Library in the city of Sullivan.
On January 15, 1903, Andrew Carnegie
donated $10,000 for the building of the Sullivan Library. On February
26, 1904, the contract was let and on June 11, 1904, the corner-stone
was laid. Paul O. Marantz was the architect who designed the
facility. The dome is probably the most unique part of the
building. Another special feature is the Indiana Bedford
limestone. On January 19, 1905, the library was dedicated and on
January 30, 1905 the doors were opened to the public with 1,222 books
to choose from. There have been
many changes and updates since then.
The first Library Board included John
T. Hays, John S. Bays, George R. Dutton, Florence Higbee, Lulu T.
Blue, Anna T. Erslinger and Rachel K. Harris who served as president.
During the first 50 years, five
librarians were in charge. They included Julia Mason, June
Deming, Nelle Aydelotte, Alice Burns and Emma Kennedy.
The golden anniversary of the library
was celebrated January 29, 1955. The trustees and staff of the
library hosted a children's party at the Sherman Theatre. The
children were in grades 1-6 and had read 10 books to celebrate Book
Week in November.
In the late 1960's small town libraries
began to merge with Sullivan and the county system was completed by
the mid 1970s. Branches are maintained at Carlisle, Dugger,
Farmersburg, Merom and Shelburn. Our Outreach program includes
the Hymera Library and several senior citizen facilities, and the
In 1978 a new section was opened in the
basement to house the Children's Library. It is a large, bright, open
area with plenty of room for young readers. It is complete with
books, magazines, puzzles, and computers for the young reader.
Purchase of an adjoining lot and house
resulted in an Annex building used for processing, office space,
kitchen area, and public meeting rooms.
In recent years the library has under
gone major remodeling.
The most recent restoration was to the
interior of the library. The first stage included re-wiring of the
entire structure and plastering the walls. The floor was sagging and
had to be replaced. The main book room under the dome was converted
into a reading room, complete with fireplace and chairs. The addition
was completed in 1994 approximately doubling the square footage of
The microfilm section and genealogy
department are located in the lower level. This has proved to be a
very busy part of the library.
In 2004 the parking lot was blacktopped
and a garage built. The garage is L-shaped and includes a room
for the Friends of the Library to organize and sell books, movies, and
In 2008 a Historic Marker was put up in
front of the library acknowledging it as an important part of Sullivan
county and Indiana history.
In 2008-2009 the library did a major
clean up of the lower level after a massive spring flooding.
Drainage tile was put in around the outside of the building. New carpet
was added to the Children's Room and Genealogy Room. New
shelving was added. Everything was given a fresh coat of
paint. New floor tile was added to the restrooms.
In 2011 a new roof was put on the
Sullivan County Library.
In 2012 the dome ornament was removed
to be painted and the roof area repaired before reinstalling the
ornament. The ornament sits on a platform of copper that had
to be repaired.