Three special anniversaries were celebrated at the Shiawassee District Library in 2014. The library system observed its first twenty years of service, the Durand Memorial Branch celebrated 60 years in operation, and the Owosso Branch celebrated its 100th anniversary.
Shiawassee District Library
The Shiawassee District Library was formed on July 1st, 1994 when the cities of Durand and Owosso, and Bennington, Owosso and Rush townships merged to create a new library system including the former Durand Memorial and Owosso Public Libraries. Ken Uptigrove, former Owosso Public Library Director, was hired to serve at SDL’s first director.
The library’s direct millage provided a stable source of funding, increased the books and materials purchasing for each branch, and allowed for building improvements. Technology improvements over SDL’s first few years included a new automated circulation system and website. Public access computers were added at each branch and now total 15 at Owosso and 7 at Durand. Wireless Internet access was added in 2004. Downloadable books and music are also available.
Durand Memorial Library
The Durand Memorial Branch first opened its doors in March 1954 after seven years of community effort to construct the building. Most of the early collection of books was borrowed from the state library and many of the furnishings were handcrafted and donated by the community. Iva Stevenson served as the first librarian.
Use of the library and the size of the collection increased rapidly so that a children’s room was added in 1971. Another addition was built in the summer of 1980 to house the fiction and non-fiction collections. In 1989 the library’s reading room was constructed.
The library’s collection grew through the years as well. Books continued to be borrowed from the Michigan State Library into the 1970’s to supplement the small collection. LP records were available in the 1960’s, but were later replaced with cassette tapes and eventually music CD’s in the 1980’s. A small collection of 8mm films were purchased in the 1970’s. Videocassette movies were eventually replaced with DVD films, and Blu-ray movies were added in 2012.
To stabilize and increase funding for the Durand Memorial Library, the library became a branch of the Shiawassee District Library when SDL formed in 1994.
SDL in 2014
Both branches of the Shiawassee District Library were busy during 2014 with 190 programs attended by more than 3,800 people. Programs were held on writing family history, ghost hunting, Christmas wreath making, and more. Both branches also offered winter reading programs for adults.
Children’s services during the year included Lego block parties, craft programs, Wii days, and more. Children and their families were invited to hands on science programs, live animal encounters, story hours, and more events during the Fizz Boom Read! summer reading program.
Shiawassee District Library offers a collection of 97,800 items including 80,500 books, 3,600 music CD’s, 2,200 CD and cassette books, 1,880 movies on DVD and Blu-ray, and subscriptions to 15 newspapers and 163 magazines within its two locations. The Overdrive downloadable books collection contains more than 8,000 titles.
104,000 people visited the libraries during 2014 and more than 69,200 books, movies, and more were borrowed from the Durand and Owosso branches during 2014. Patrons also borrowed more than 4,300 books and other items through MelCat, the statewide interlibrary loan service. Almost 5,200 Overdrive books and more than 900 Freegal music tracks were downloaded.
Each of Shiawassee District Library’s participating municipalities is represented on the library board. Current board officers include: President Robert Smith of City of Durand, Vice-President Tom Smith of City of Durand, Treasurer Rosemary Schultz of City of Owosso, and Secretary Denice Grace of City of Owosso. Trustees on the board include: Ed Humphrey of Bennington Township, Joan Aue of City of Owosso, and Robert Teich Jr. of City of Owosso. Long time board member Kitty Campbell of Rush Township resigned from the board in November.
“2014 was a year to celebrate our special anniversaries; SDL’s 20 years of service, Durand Branch’s 60th anniversary, and the Owosso Branch’s centennial. We are looking forward to many more years of library service in our communities as Shiawassee District Library continues to change, improve, and offer new services in the future”, says Steven Flayer, Library Director.
L to r: Mayor Norm Sparling (with shovel), VFW Past Commander Stuart Coleman, Mrs. Rex (Mae) Teeters, VFW Past Commander Bob Grice (with shovel)/Courtesy Photo