Library History

The Jeffersonville Township Public Library has its roots in the workingmen’s library movement of the early 1800s. This small collection became a township library after 1852 and was held in the township trustee’s office. This wasn’t convenient for most citizens and so in 1897 representatives from multiple ladies’ clubs in Jeffersonville, led by Hannah Zulauf and Bertha Poindexter, canvassed for money to create a proper township library and founded the Jeffersonville Township Public Library Association.

Several legislative technicalities prevented the JTPLA from receiving control of the library collection until December 1900, when the library opened in its new location on the 2nd floor of the Citizens National Bank on the corner of Court Avenue and Spring Street. Bertha Poindexter was appointed the first Librarian.

The space was limited for a growing collection and so Hannah Zulauf wrote to Andrew Carnegie to request a grant of $15,000 to build a library. In 1902 Carnegie made the formal offer of assistance provided Jeffersonville could make the local cash match of 10% of the annual cost of the construction. The city of Jeffersonville donated Warder Park for the library site and Arthur Loomis was selected to be the architect.

The cornerstone of the new library was laid on September 19, 1903 and building was complete by the end of 1904. The new building opened on February 18, 1905. This building was used by the library until 1970 even after the entire collection was destroyed in the 1937 Flood.

In 1964 the library board appointed an expansion committee to determine the library’s needs and see if it met the American Library Association’s standards. The committee found that the budget, the staff, the collection, and the building itself were all too small to serve the needs of an expanding population and so in 1969 construction began on the new library building at the corner of Court Avenue and Locust Street. The new building opened on March 11, 1970 and was formally dedicated on May 16, 1970.

As technology rapidly progressed and the population continued to increase, the need to expand the library became increasingly apparent. Plans for the expansion were approved in 2003 and in January 2004 the library moved its location to a temporary facility at 1303 Plank Road in a building owned by the Census Bureau. What was supposed to be a 12-18 month project lasted 3 years and the library collection moved back into the newly renovated building in January 2007. The new building was dedicated in 2006, reopened on January 23, 2007 and continues to serve the Jeffersonville Township community.

Library services in Clarksville began in 1955 with a branch location at 304 West Stansifer Avenue, which was relocated to 523 Eastern Boulevard in 1958. That branch was closed in 1964 and replaced with a Bookmobile service which ceased in 1979. Clarksville citizens felt this service was inadequate and so in 1988 the Green Tree Branch location was opened up in the Green Tree Mall. The support and success of this branch led to the construction of the Clarksville Branch at 1312 Eastern Boulevard on the corner of Triangle Drive and Eastern Boulevard in 1992 which opened on May 2, 1993 and still serves the Clarksville area.