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Before the Library

The Clarion Free Library Association began actively recruiting members in February, 1914 for the support and fundraising for a Free Public Library in the area. 

This Association supported the idea of libraries being "centers for education, sane entertainment, and social activities" in addition to the general circulation of books; they wanted to toss out the outdated idea of a library "being merely a storehouse for books."

Library Beginnings

With the support of many local organizations and individuals, including the Cosmopolitan Club and the Women's Club, the Clarion Free Library was founded on June 20th, 1914.  Upon its opening, 225 books were available for circulation and hours of operation were on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 4 to 5 p.m. 

During its first year, CFL had an average circulation of 25 books per week.  It was predicted by the Clarion-Republican in 1915 that CFL "will become an important factor in the town's welfare.  [The library's] work is today a greater benefit than anyone can imagine."

Why is it the "Free" Library?

The term "free" library originates from before this library's founding.  Libraries, the building, and the materials were often only available to a select members who paid for use of the library. 

The "free" library was meant to be open to all people with no fee.  The Clarion Free Library still provides its services akin to this philosophy.