The Mary Martha Circle of the Kennedy United Methodist Church were the "young" ladies of the church. One evening in the year 1954 while meeting at the home of Beth Leege Crandall, the statement was made.
"Can't we do something for the Town? Rhea Shuart said " What the Town needs is a Library." The next weekend while visiting parents in Gerry, New York, Jan Rublee told her mother Mrs. Ayling. She knew Mrs. Sullivan the Librarian at Stockton, and arranged a meeting with her. So Bea Cobb, Rhea Shuart and Jan Rublee went to the Stockton Library. Mrs. Sullivan was wonderful! She showed us all and gave lots of information. She said " Oh it's easy, all you need is $25.00 and a book drive."
Lots of notices and information were sent out. After 3 bake sales at the Kennedy Store, we had our $25.00. Then a night in January was set for the book drive. The ladies of the Mary Martha Circle canvassed the Town in the worst blizzard of the year. Bea Cobb, Jan Rublee, Beth Crandall, Helen Bunce, Bonnie Foulk, Wilma Newman, and Marge Roth collected lots of books, some attics were cleaned.
The American Legion of Kennedy owned a big building that had been a church, then the Printing Company. They told us we could have the building. They fixed what had been the clock room in front of the building. It was about 12' by 12' filled with shelves and a desk. Mrs. Sullivan from Stockton came over and helped us start. She helped us catalog the books and the card system used then.
Mrs. Louise Anderson - a dear lady from our church who lived across the the street from the Library - offered to serve as Librarian and her husband Percy was the janitor. Both without pay at that time. It was a Success!
When the Legion bought the old school they moved us into the gym that was in the basement. We were growing and we were told that we needed a "Board" just as a formality. So we asked the Citizens of the Town. When Jan Rublee asked Earl Cross, he owned and operated the Kennedy Store, an officer in the Fire Company, treasurer of the church and so busy. He wanted to know if it took much time....." Oh no! 4 meetings a year is all"
Years later after band concerts, ice cream socials and many more meetings and serving as President to the board for many years at a public meeting he said " Don't believe anything Jan Rublee says"
The Kennedy Library Association
As it was written starting on 15th of September 1893 Ending on 28th of September 1893
One of the most deserving organizations of Kennedy has not always, and especially of late, received the attention and support it has deserved. We refer to the Kennedy Library Association and desire in this brief article to bring its history and aim freshly before the minds of our townspeople.
It was organized in the spring of 1887 by a number of ladies and gentlemen who believed it would supply a then existing want in the shape of a literary society for young people, and at the same time lay the foundation of a substantial public library which would grow more valuable to the community as years went by.
Its first officers were: E. H. Langford, President; Dr. E. S. Rich, Vice President; Miss E. A. Coffeen, Secretary; E. M. Bush, Treasurer. A constitution was drawn up by a special committee consisting of Prof. F. W. Crossfield, Miss Eva Coffeen and Dr. Rich, which was adopted by the society. Early in the fall under the leadership of Prof. P.M. Speer then principal of the public school; the literary society went actively to work and its sessions were full of interest and profit to the large number attending. A dramatic entertainment was given by some of the most active members of the Association early in the spring of 1888, with the profits of this entertainment the first purchase of books was make, 103 volumes. Quarters were provided for the library in the home of E. H. Langford, who was the first librarian, and to whose painstaking care the society is greatly indebted for the excellent condition of the books. On his removal from the village, Mrs. E. S. Rich was elected librarian and the library removed to her home. Meantime the literary society flourished and by means of dime socials, ice cream festivals and the like, money had been slowly accumulating in the treasury and a second purchase of nearly 50 volumes was made in August, 1890. A third collection of 41 volumes was made in July 1892. Books have been presented by E. H. Langford, W. W. Weatherly, Miss Grace Sturdevant, Mrs. Delos Merritt, Prof. H. R. Norton and others. Prof. F. W. Crossfield presented a complete set of Irving.
It was the intention of the founders of the Association that the library should be a permanent feature of the village, to be enriched with books of reference and standard historical works, and to be consulted by students and citizens when need required. As far as possible this has been kept in view in every purchase. For example, the library now possesses a set of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Hume's History of England, Prescott's Ferdinant and Isabella Hayden's Dictionary of Dates and many standard biographies. In fiction, others are complete sets of the masters of English novel writing; Scott, Dickens, Thackeray, and nearly all of George Elliot's.
The miscellaneous fiction has been selected with great care and is of a high order, including one or two specimen volumes from nearly every English and American author of any standing. There are a number of picturesque volumes on the line of travel and others relating to the late war, and of special interest to the G. A. R.. Competent judges have pronounced this library to be the best selected collection of books, for its size, that they have ever seen. The tickets have been placed at the lowest possible figure, fifty cents per year (which is less than a cent a week), and should have a large yearly sale. The library is now at the residence of Mott Smith, one of the first members of the Association, and who has been identified with its interests ever since. It is open on Saturday evenings from 6 to 9 , though this day may possibly change in the near future. The books have outgrown their original quarters and additional shelfing is necessary and will soon be provided. The library has no means of revenue save from the sale of tickets and gifts of friends. This latter source might be largely benificial if our citizens would take the pride in its growth and development which has been shown at Sinclairville. A good public library is an ornament to any village, and a continual testimony to the intellegence and public spirit of its citizens. An if, by bequest or gift a suitable room should be provided and a sufficient revenue guaranteed to make it free, its value and usefulness through coming years can scarcely be estimated. (Sept. 28, 1893)