Smith, Toni; Wedemeyer, Martha (ed.) / Tea and service : 100 year history of the Port Washington Woman's Club
Projects events fund raising and fun
Public Library The sponsorship of the Port Washington Public Library in 1899 was the first major project of the P.W.W. C. There is some mention of 1898 but the former seems most logical. P.W.W.C., like any new organization had to allot considerable time to the writing of the constitution, by-laws and familiarizing the club members with the rules of order. Their attention to detail is evidenced by examples of their bookkeeping and written programs that we are privileged to have in our trust. March of 1898, a Miss Lottie Steams, a member of the Free Library Association was the Club's first guest speaker. The question arises, if Miss Steams' talk became the catalyst for the library project or it was just another step in a plan that had been in the minds of the founding members, before P.W.W.C. became a reality. Following Lottie Steams' talk, a suggestion was made to donate books to a reading room. History is unclear about the suggestion for donating books that followed Miss Steams' talk. Was that suggestion put on hold until the Mayor and City Council approved the library or were the books collated in anticipation of the council's approval? What we know is that Mr. and Mrs. Courtland donated space for the library in the back of their drug store which was located at the southwest comer of Franklin and Main. Mrs. Courtland offered to take charge of the books for one year without charge. Mrs. Courtland raised money among the businesses to buy shelving for the books. The mayor and city council were petitioned by the club for a City Library. The petition was approved by the Mayor and City Council of Port Washington in 1899. The city now had a public library thanks to a group of women who worked to improve their community.
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