A former librarian’s 26 years of dedication to literacy and service will be recognized on April 30 when the Lenox Township Library is rededicated as Jean Waterloo Lenox Township Library.
The Lenox Township Library Board of Trustees first planned to make the name change to honor the work of former librarian Waterloo a couple years ago, but COVID-19 delayed these plans as they were being set in motion, according to Lenox Township Library Director Beth Bogaert .
“The library board approached Mrs. Waterloo in 2017 about kind of honoring her service via a name change, adding her name to what we already have to honor her but still to represent that it is part of the community it serves,” Bogaert said.
Prior to the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, initial research was done to learn the steps to undertake the name change, including working with the township and other local government officials, Bogaert said. She added COVID-19 brought plans to a temporary halt, but the library is now prepared to move ahead with the name change.
“We are having kind of a renaming ceremony on April 30 of this month at 1 pm It is not a huge undertaking, but we are hoping to have the new sign up. We did get the new sign and will reveal it to attendees,” Bogaert said.
She also said that Waterloo, now almost 90 years old, has been invited to the event. Bogaert and Library Board President Adrienne Hilmon will speak at the dedication, which will be followed by refreshments and a children’s craft.
Waterloo began her work at the library in the early 1970s.
“She was part of all of the additions to the building. My understanding is she also participated in the programming for kids, especially story time,” Bogaert said.
Waterloo also contributed to the research for the book “New Haven: Reflections of a Unique Village” by Laura Falk, who was a village assessor.
The New Haven Public Library was created in February 1948 via village ordinance. It was subsidized in part from the general fund in an amount not to exceed $300, with the rest of the funding from public contributions. The library was housed in a former Lenox Township Hall and was a branch of the Macomb County Library. Originally the New Haven Library began with 1,400 books on loan from the state library.
“Originally when it was founded in 1948 it was housed in the local municipality building, and moved to this location in 1950,” Bogaert said.
The New Haven Lions Club developed a new building for the library on property provided by the John Stockton Women’s Relief Corp. No. 157. Local clubs donated money for furnishings and maintenance. The building now known as Lenox Township Library was dedicated on April 30, 1950, gifted by the New Haven Lions Club to the Village of New Haven. It is located at 58976 Main St. in New Haven.
The library was a branch of the Macomb County Library until 1970, when the county library closed its branches. That November, Lenox Township voters approved .5 mills for operation of the library, and it officially became the Lenox Township Library. A six-member elected board was created, and the Women’s Relief Corps deeded the land to the Lenox Township Library in December 1976. In 1988 another .5 mills was approved for library building expansion, and in 1994 another .5 mills was approved for another expansion, bringing the total mileage to 1.5 mills.
Bogaert said that the library now houses between 20,000 to 30,000 items. A recent public library annual report for the Lenox Township Library illustrated 13,457 library visits and 4,900 virtual visits to the library’s website. Total program attendance reached 3,532, and total physical circulation reached 13,233. Bogaert said that COVID-19 curtailed in-person programming for a while, but the library is now moving towards reviving more of these programs. Craft dates and programming for children and adults is on tap, and teen volunteers are being welcomed back as well.
“We have always offered story time for preschool, the pre-Kindergarten story time on Wednesdays. We offer kits, we are pulling back a little but still planning to offer craft take home kits for kids. Summer reading is coming up on the schedule,” Bogaert said.
Nicole Tuttle is a freelance reporter for The Voice.