Since the story of libraries in Radnor township was started in this column several weeks ago, pictures have been shown of four of the buildings, which have housed them in the past. In choosing today’s picture, the one shown below has been selected for several reasons.
The picture incorporates portions of both the old George W. Childs library building and of the present new building. The immediate foreground is the remodelled left wing of the old building, which has been extended to the south to form the main corridor of the new structure. In the center of the right wall is the focal point of the whole library, the Memorial Plaque, on which have been inscribed the names of the 68 men and women of Radnor township who gave their lives in World War ll. The inscription in the center of the plaque reads:
“IN MEMORY of the men and women of Radnor Township who died in their country’s service that Freedom and Justice might live. To them this Library is dedicated in the hope that those who follow may find here wisdom and courage to strive for a better world.”
The main entrance to the library shows on the left as opening, at the top of a short flight of steps leading from the ground floor door, into this main corridor. Directly opposite the entrance is the librarian’s desk where incoming books and phonograph records are received and others given out. Beyond can be seen the many-windowed section of the library used as a reading room for its younger members.
Another well-lighted room in the basement floor is known as the Veterans’ Room. Although dedicated to the use of the veteran organizations, it is also used from time to time for meetings of other community groups.
The story of the erection of this beautiful permanent home for the library is such a recent one that it need not be retold in detail at this time. In 1946, the feeling of the community, that there should be a lasting memorial materialized in plans for a much needed addition to the small building on West Lancaster avenue. This idea, first sponsored by the Wayne Business Association, was adopted with whole-hearted enthusiasm by those interested in a permanent memorial.
More than $40,000 of the $50,000 goal was reached, with the result that, in 1949, the building program was completed, and the former George W. Childs Library was renamed the Memorial Library of Radnor
Township at this time.
A well organized campaign is now under way to pay off the $7,000 mortgage on which interest has been paid since 1949. In view of the phenomenal growth in the use of the facilities of the new library since its completion seven years ago, the success of the campaign is almost assured.
According to figures recently compiled, the library registration increased from 1,797 in 1948, the last year of the George W. Childs Library, to 5,918 in 1955. Book withdrawals in that same period had increased from 24,804 to 104,332. This represents a 400 per cent increase in utilization.
Surely Radnor township chose wisely when it selected the building of its Memorial Library as its living tribute to its dead of World War II.