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North East Branch Library History

The story of the North East Branch Library is the embodiment of decades of work by people who wanted more for their community. The roots of this dedication can be traced to a determined group of local women who in 1950 petitioned the county to fund a branch of the Cecil County Public Library (CCPL) for the town of North East.

Acquiring funds to be open for four hours a week, the Young Women’s Civic League was formed and worked with CCPL to convert the floor above the town jail into a library. Opened in 1952, the library was a tiny 300 square foot room with 2500 books and seating for three, including the librarian.

Andrea Pugh, Vice Chair of the Friends Foundation, former CCPL Board of Trustees President and current member of the Women’s Civic League of North East recently shared, “My first job was working at the North East Branch when it was over the jail. I was paid $.50 an hour!”

Kathy Styer, a librarian at the branch throughout the 1980s, recalls feeling she could reach out and touch nearly every book in the collection from her desk. Opening and closing was a one-person job. “I remember emptying that little book drop out front,” Kathy recalls. “Putting books in a big bag and hauling them up those steps was something! That book drop stayed around for a long time until we had to replace it when it was washed away in a hurricane.”

Plans for a larger branch were realized in 1991 with the opening of a 2800 square foot library. Open twice as many hours with a public meeting room and enhanced access, the new building provided room for programming, computers and a collection of 20,000 items.  Today, the branch is as close to the heart of its community as ever.  Welcoming 40,000 visitors and circulating 100,000 books and other materials annually, in addition to providing well over 100 educational programs for youth, North East’s well-loved library is once again bursting at the seams.

For over 65 years, the library has been an integral part of North East, growing and changing along with the town, community groups and small businesses.  This connection is highlighted by the same group of determined women who initiated the plans for a library branch. By their fiftieth anniversary the Young Women’s Civic League had grown to over 50 members and changed its name to the Women’s Civic League of North East. To this day, the Women’s Civic League continues to support and advocate for the library.

 

North East Library History Photos

Scroll through our album of North East Library History photos to see the library from its earliest days to the current location.

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