Back to:

Paynesville Area


View of
the Lake

Notes from the Paynesville Historical Society. . .

Booklovers started public library

By Mark Braun

At the turn of the century women usually didn't have much of an impact in the community life.

In Paynesville, however, there was a group of women who would give this town something that would be remembered in history. They called themselves the Booklover's Club.

The founder, Mrs. Frank Tolman, was made president of the first Booklover's Club. The original members were Mrs. E.E. Lockerby, Mrs. George Putney, Madams Lockerby, Heimerdinger, Huntington, Minnie Phipps, Addie Carpenter, and Hazal Boylan.

The club had a motto, "He who does not advance loses ground." They stressed the importance upon the cultural value of good reading and good books.

With that in mind they opened the first Paynesville Public Library.

Each week the book club would get together to have what they called a program. Each member was responsible for a part in the program. The programs usually had music, reading, and acting out plays, discussion of current events, book reviews, and studies of countries around the world.

One project that was taken on by the book club was to start a public library. Sponsoring a town meeting to form the library, the club did it. They formed the Paynesville Public Library Association.

The membership fee was 25 cents a year. A local lawyer, Frank Tolman, offered the club space in his office to start the library.

The library today is a branch of the Great River Regional library. We now have access to books, periodicals, audio visual materials, and the Internet in our library, thanks to what the Booklover's Club accomplished almost 100 years ago.

All the information for this article was found in the archives of the Paynesville Historical Society.