HISTORY OF RIEGELSVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY

The Riegelsville Public Library is found in the same location as it was originally situated when John Leidy Riegel created the building in 1885-1886 as a school for the children of the community. The building was known as the Riegelsville Academy and was known for
its preparatory education in the student's futures. The cooperation of the teachers and students in schoolwork and "association with good books made possible by the possession of a large library, exert a powerful influence in molding ideals and character"  (announcement of Register of Students, Riegelsville Academy, 1883-1908, page 6).

 

Many of the students graduated and went onto colleges such as Lafayette, Cornell, Lehigh University, Franklin and Marshall, Gettysburg and Ursinus.

The opening of the Durham School in 1901 was the cause of fewer students to attend the Academy, and in 1916 the Academy closed because of poor attendance.

The library was located on the second floor of the building occupying two rooms. The management of the library was by the trustees of St. John Reformed Church and the principal acted as librarian.

In 1925, a library club was formed, and they removed the wall so that the library would be one large room (1,700 square feet), added more bookcases, and a Mercer tile fireplace. At this time the building was used for meetings, dances, and various community functions.

The library was open to the public until the late 1950s or 1960s, when St. John Reformed Church leased the building to the Riegelsville Fire Company. The library was still on the second floor but not used. The deed is dated February 1, 1971 when the Academy Building became property of Riegelsville Borough Council, bought for $1.00 from St. John United Church of Christ.

In 1976, a group of concerned citizens became involved in rescuing the library from being dissolved. On September 8, 1976, a resolution was signed by the Borough Council of Riegelsville declaring the Riegelsville Library to be a legal official Government Agency of Riegelsville Borough and authorized Trustees of the Library to operate it. The Board consisted of nine members, who developed Bylaws to run the library.

The volunteer group worked on dusting, stacking, and sorting items in the library to prepare for a re-opening.  In less than two months, the group set up a story hour on Saturday mornings for children and library hours on Friday evenings for families. At the time of the
re-opening, the library housed approximately 2,000 volumes.

The Library received help from the Easton Area Public Library. The Easton Library is located in Northampton County, approximately 10 miles from Riegelsville. The director of the Easton Library donated 500 books to the lending library program. They also supplied the library with storytellers and plans for the month of May when they had their re-opening. The Bucks County Free Library provided help by means of a movie for committee members and programs for the volunteers to follow.

 

For more information, read the History of Riegelsville and the Academy.

  615 Easton Road (RT 611), Riegelsville, PA 18077  |  610-749-2357  |  riegelsvillelibrary@gmail.com

 

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