As early as 1874, a group of interested persons formed the Presque Isle Library Association. The members referred to themselves as the Half and Half Club, a group dedicated to social exchanges, mutual improvement, and the establishment of a public library. The club’s name reflected the fact that its officers would consist “half of ladies and half of gentleman, when it can be arranged.”
The early collection of books, formed from donations rotated among many Presque Isle businesses, with the librarian usually drawn from the business that housed the books.
The books were first placed in George Rowell’s drugstore and then moved to the Post Office where Mrs. Luce, the postmaster’s wife, served as librarian. Later Laila Smith’s millinery store held the collection. In 1905 the collection was moved to Holmes Jewelry Store and Mr. Holmes was the librarian.
Presque Isle citizens voted to build a library in 1907, using a $10,000 grant from the Carnegie Fund. Thomas H. Phair purchased a lot from the Dudley heirs for $1,000 on the southeast corner of Second and State Streets, and citizens raised an additional $937.50 for a small adjoining lot. The Presque Isle Library opened on July 1, 1908 with a collection of 2,000 books.
As the city’s population grew, the community needed a larger building and used state funding and a matching donation of $60,000 from Mark Turner, a local businessman. In April of 1967, the newly expanded Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Library opened its doors.
Today the library offers a diverse collection of books, magazines, videos/DVDs and programs and events. The library also provides computer and Internet access. To learn more about the library and the services offered just stop in, call, or visit the Website to see a list of events.
Lou Marston 1908-1928
Beulah Akeley 1928-1945
Natalie Barker 1945
Bernice Libby 1945
Dorothy Winslow 1946-1948
Beatrice Rakestraw 1948-1951
Dorothy Small 1951-1955
Anne Stimpson 1955-1981
Marilyn Clark 1981-2000
Donna Rasche 2000-2003
Sonja Plummer-Morgan 2003-