Sunday Service @ KPL

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Last week the Friends of KPL and the Friends of WMU Libraries held a joint annual meeting. The program was “Founding Friends.” Lynn Houghton of WMU Archives and Regional History Collection, spoke about Edwin and Cynthia Van Deusen who donated the funds that built the first dedicated building for the Kalamazoo Public Library.

Lynn mentioned that one stipulation of Dr. and Mrs. Van Deusen was that the public library be open on Sundays so that working men, most of whom worked six days per week, would have a day to come to the library.

Of course I have heard or read a fair amount of our history but I had never known about this early requirement for Sunday service. We are currently open Sundays during the school year and have been for many decades. I don’t know if there was ever a break in Sunday service or if the library has been open on Sundays since its founding in 1872.

Our Sunday service for the current school year will end on May 22 and resume in the fall on September 11.

Come visit Central Library on Sundays from 1 pm – 5 pm for two more weeks, but even when we are closed on Sundays over the summer, we are still open six days, and our online branch is always open!


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Posted by Ann Rohrbaugh at 05/09/2011 09:33:56 AM | 

I thought that was a very interesting fact to find out. Hopefully Dr. Van Deusen also felt working women should also be able to come and read on Sundays! I did find out that their son's will in 1919 gave money to the Y.W.C.A. because his mother supported their programs which at that time would have included support for working women.
Posted by: Lynn Houghton ( Email ) at 5/10/2011 12:12 PM

I wish to echo Mrs. VanDeusen's wish that KPL be always open on Sundays. Even though I work at a library (which is open Sundays) I miss not being able to visit my home library on Sundays during my weekend in the summer. The weekend is the time when I have time to walk over to the library and I really miss not being able to do this on Sundays during the summer. My guess is that feeling is replicated by many others.
Posted by: Shirley Cody ( Email | Visit ) at 5/11/2011 3:29 PM

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