Monday, August 13, 2018

Montoursville 2018: Konkle Memorial Library (Part 1)

When I arrived for my day in Montoursville exactly one month ago, my first thought was to wander over to Dr. W.B. Konkle Memorial Library at 384 Broad Street (though I did take a slightly scenic route). According to the 1975 Otstonwakin newsletter, "a borough library became a reality when Mrs. W.B. Konkle willed her home to the community. In April, 1944, the Dr. W.B. Konkle Memorial Library on Jordan Avenue opened its doors to the public."1

Two decades later, in 1964, the old bank building at the corner of Broad and Washington was purchased following a $35,000 fund-raising campaign. This became the library's new home, and that is why the library building today resembles an early 20th century bank.

According to The Otstonwakin, the annual circulation of materials totaled about 30,000 items in 1975.

As of this writing, Konkle library is open six days a week, for a total of 50 hours, which is pretty great for a small-town community library in 2018. (Our library here in Dover, by comparison, is only open for 31 hours per week this summer.)

Mom took my sister and I to the library regularly when we lived on Willow Street from late 1980 until the summer of 1983. It was one of my favorite places in Montoursville. I probably liked it just as much, if not more, than the community pool. I read books by Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume. I read Frank Dolson's The Philadelphia Story: A City of Losers Winners. I browsed through the books for grownups. I was in awe of the illustrations in Wil Huygen's Gnomes and the jet-black album sleeve for the Star Wars original score in the vinyl records section.

But, best of all, Konkle Memorial Library is where I found Ruth Manning-Sanders. I wrote this in 2011:
"I first discovered the books of Ruth Manning-Sanders at the W. B. Konkle Memorial Library in Montoursville in the early 1980s. I would check out A Book of Wizards, A Book of Giants, A Book of Dragons and the other available Manning-Sanders fairy-tale compilations over and over. The stories from around the world, accompanied by Robin Jacques' wonderful illustrations, captured my imagination. (And still do.)"
So, returning to Konkle is always special. Of course, it seems much smaller now than it did when I was 11 and 12. There have been some interior changes, especially in the children's section. And there are many more computers.

But they still have Ruth Manning-Sanders books!

I found two of them. And, looking at the dates stamped onto the circulation-card pockets, some of those surely marked times that I checked the books out and took them home to Willow Street.

Previous posts mentioning Konkle

1. Some armchair genealogy: Library namesake Dr. W.B. Konkle's full name, I believe, was William Bastian Konkle, and he lived from 1858 to 1928. He was the son of William Blair Konkle (1818-1895) and Amelia Bastian Konkle (1822-1892). In 1889, William Bastian Konkle married Lycoming County native Anna Joan Saylor, who was born in 1861 and died in 1941, at the age of 80. So Anna was "Mrs. W.B. Konkle" and it was Anna's will that created the Dr. W.B. Konkle Memorial Library that opened its doors in 1944 on Jordan Avenue. Of course, it was her wish that the library be named after her late husband, but it seems like she and her name should be remembered and celebrated, too. (Final sketchy note: There are a couple indications that she might have gone by Joan, rather than Anna.)

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