The Chippewa River District Library System
The Chippewa River District Library System provides materials and services to enrich, enlighten and inspire all of the people in the community. Special emphasis is placed on stimulating an interest and appreciation in young children, promoting recreational reading for all ages and utilizing the library as a reference and independent learning center.
On May 20, 1998 the Library of Michigan officially recognized the Chippewa River District Library system as a legally established district library. A volunteer board of eight trustees governs the Chippewa River District Library System and meets monthly. For a list of board members, board meeting information or board policies, please call 989-772-3242, ext. 19 or visit www.CRDL.org.
The district currently encompasses the City of Mount Pleasant, the Mount Pleasant Public School System, Union Township, Coe Township, Fremont Township and Rolland Township. The library system is funded by a millage levied within the service area and serves roughly 51,000 in-district residents. The local libraries are Veterans Memorial Library in Mount Pleasant, Faith Johnston Memorial Library in Rosebush, Shepherd Community Library in Shepherd, Fremont Township Library in Winn and Tate Memorial Library in Blanchard.
Veterans Memorial Library
Mount Pleasant's first library was organized March 15, 1879. It was known as the Library, Literary and Musical Association of Mount Pleasant and housed wherever there was an available space. Being an association, its materials were only available to its members. After most of the books were destroyed in a fire in 1895, the Library, Literary and Musical Association faded away. In 1909, the Mt. Pleasant Woman's Club supported a movement to establish a public library in Mount Pleasant. The first board was named on Dec. 6, 1909 and the library opened March 19, 1910 in a building on South Main Street over Jamison and Young's office. The library later moved into the house of Mr. and Mrs. L. N. Smith, located at 412 E. Broadway. Within a few short years the library had outgrown the building and relocated to the First Congregational Society of the City of Mount Pleasant on the southeast corner of Illinois Street and Normal Avenue (now University Avenue). Veterans Memorial Library remains in this location. The Mt. Pleasant Woman's Club raised $2,693.12 for equipment to furnish the new location. In 1953, plans for financing and construction of a new library building were studied by community leaders. Money from a special library building fund, municipal court funds, a postwar building fund and a loan from other municipal funds were put together. The new library building was constructed and opened in April 1957. Not only was there a new building, but a new name as well. On May 24, 1957, the library was dedicated to Mount Pleasant's veterans of all wars - Veterans Memorial Library. By 1974 the library was already running into space limitations and as the community continued to grow, so did demand for library services. After years of exploring multiple possibilities, voters approved a $1.2 million bond in June of 1983 to expand Veterans Memorial Library into the building used today. The building expansion was completed in 1985.
When the Mount Pleasant Post Office relocated to a new facility in 2002, the building and parcel of land it sat on became available. Feeling the pressure of increasing demands for library services, the library board took advantage of this opportunity and purchased the property. The former post office was renovated just enough to make the building usable, attached to Veterans Memorial Library and named the Library Annex. In 2010, Veterans Memorial Library was renovated using the support of many generous donors and funds from the library's millage. The renovation included new lights, HVAC system, computer networking, paint and carpeting as well as rearranging the layout of the building to better accommodate our patron’s needs.
Faith Johnston Memorial Library
Faith Johnston was a very giving spirit throughout her lifetime; giving of her wisdom, time and resources. So, it was in her nature to aid the library when they were in need of a new library space. Due to the generosity of Faith Johnston, the Rosebush Branch Library was able to expand and find a home within the walls of the one room, clapboard church on Michigan Street in 1993. The building began to show signs of stress both within its original foundation and the floor due to the enormous weight and strain of the book stacks. In the summer of 2006 the library district purchased a large commercial space located at 4035 N. Mission in the center of the village. Renovations for the new library space began by a partnership with CMU's IET department (its staff, students and the Home Builders Student Chapter) and the library district. Once plans were approved by the county, demolition took place, and then the rebirth of the building was set into motion. The new location of the Faith Johnston Memorial Library branch of the Chippewa River District Library system opened its doors on Monday, Aug. 27, 2007. The new space is three times larger than the old space and while it provides the same quality services to the community that it always did, it now offers additional children's programs, as well as, teen and adult programs. There is also a large community gathering space and a meeting room for public use. Included in the expansion was the addition of separate adult and youth computer space, as well as, a wireless network providing the community with free internet access, and separate areas for relaxing and studying for adults, teens and children. A unique feature that patrons can enjoy in the warmer months of the year is the reading porch located in the back of the building.
Shepherd Community Library
In February of 2011 the Chippewa River District Library System acquired the old Kentwood Pharmacy building (257 W. Wright Ave.) in downtown Shepherd as the future site of the Shepherd Community LIbrary. While renovations to the building included upgrading the heating, electrical, and networking systems, we were very excited for the opportunity to revitalize a historic building in downtown Shepherd and were able to maintain a large portion of the buildings historical integrity. Some changes to interior walls helped to define the space for patron usage and historic windows were uncovered to allow us to fully utilize natural light. Upgrades within the building allowed for more computer workstations, laptops and wireless access, and provide more room for study and reading space. Programming space was added which enabled your CRDL to increase programming and library activities for the Shepherd community. These changes allow your CRDL to provide easy access to information and cultural activities - whether in print, audio, in person or online in order to help meet your educational goals and improve quality of life.
The official Grand Opening of the Shepherd Community Library was held on Thursday, September 20th, 2012. With these changes and upgrades, our hope is that your new library building will become a center of community activity in Shepherd.
Fremont Township Library
The Fremont Township Library is located in Winn, a small farming community nestled in the southern half of Isabella County. The library is flanked on one side by Cedar Valley Antiques (in the same building) and on the other by the Judge’s Bench bar and grill (across the street). The building that houses the library is over a century old. It originally served as the headquarters and meeting place for the local chapter of the Masons, who also constructed the building; they held their meetings upstairs and rented the two downstairs units to local businesses. Since it was erected in 1908, the space has been used as a meat market, an ice cream parlor, and a grocery store; the township board and Food for Friends also held meetings there. The library first took up residence in the building in 1981 and has been there ever since.
Tate Memorial Library
The Tate Memorial Library, formally known as The Rolland Township Library, is located in the village of Blanchard, at the extreme western end of Isabella County. The library has been located in the Rolland Township Hall since it moved in to that location in 2003. The building was constructed in 1903 by the Oddfellows as a meeting facility. Later the building was purchased by the Masons, who used the upstairs area for a meeting hall, banquet facilities and visitor’s accommodations, while the first floor was rented out to businesses. In 1973 the building was acquired by Rolland Township to be used for board meetings, public meetings, banquet facilities and, in the upstairs area, for storage. CRDL acquired the building in 2013 and completed renovations in May 2014.
In July 2014, the library was renamed the Tate Memorial Library in honor of Dr. Merze Tate. Dr. Tate was born in 1905 and was the grandchild of the first African-American settlers in Mecosta County. She was the youngest and only African-American graduate in her high school class and was selected class valedictorian. She was the first African-American to graduate from Western Michigan Teachers College, the first African-American woman to attend University of Oxford and the first to earn a Ph.D from Harvard. She was an advisor to General Eisenhower. She was a college professor and dean for Barber-Scotia College, Bennett College, Morgan State College, and Howard University. She traveled the world twice and was a film maker for the U.S. State Department.
CRDL feels strongly that library buildings are more than just functional spaces, they are about providing exciting new services to help our children learn and grow, improved and equal access to current and emerging technologies, and enhanced recreational, educational, and cultural opportunities for seniors, families, and individuals of all ages.