How times have changed

1 year ago

The following is from the Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Library’s local history books. 

These library rules were established June 22, 1908, as handwritten original Library Board of Trustees meeting minutes.  

Reader beware — this is cringy by today’s best library practices: 

  1. “The library is open to everyone from 2 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m., legal holidays and Sunday.”
  2. “All persons over ten years of age residing in town of Presque Isle Free Library under the following conditions.”
  3. “Each person is entitled to the use of one book for two weeks with privilege of renewal.”
  4. “Books not subject to renewal until they have been in the library three months.”
  5. “A fine of two cents a day will be charged for books overdue.”
  6. “Borrowers of books are responsible for their loss or mutilation.” 
  7. “Non-residents of Presque Isle may be allowed the use of books on payment of two dollars per year or two cents per day and complying with regulations of the library.”
  8. “Non-residents will be required to deposit one dollar before borrowing books, unless vouched for by some responsible resident of Presque Isle.”
  9. “All attendants of Normal or Public Schools will be considered residents while schools are in session.”
  10. “All persons either resident or non-resident are cordially invited to use reference books, papers, and magazines in the reading rooms.” 
  11. “Reference books, papers and magazines are not to be taken from the Library.”
  12. “Conversation in the reading rooms strictly prohibited.”

Oh, how things have changed for the better. We are fine-free because we understand that fines were a deterrent to patrons returning items or visiting the library at all. Your age isn’t relevant to your membership, and conversation is welcomed. 

Basically, we’ve removed barriers to service, be they socio-economic or just a lack of true hospitality, and we’d rather you have the books than us, actually. They do no good sitting on a shelf being collected. 

Here are a few statistics that demonstrate how much our library is used today: 

94 passports facilitated (a 63 percent increase from 2021)

5,505 reference questions asked and answered

1,423 fingerprint appointments

Children’s walk-ins: 10, 815

Adults walk-ins: 14,197

Physical items checked out: 20,669 – Ebooks checked out: 866

2,288 items added to the collection

Patrons applying for a library card: 561

To read more about the early development of your library, please ask. We love an opportunity to tell you how we came to be such a lovely addition to downtown Presque Isle. 

Sonja Eyler is librarian at the Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Library in Presque Isle. She can be reached at 764-2571 or via email at