Library Annual Report 1875

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South Orange Library Association
Report of President
Edwin H. Mead
For Year 1875
The 11th, Annual Report

Note: Mr. E. H. Mead, was South Orange Library Association President 1875-1876.

The Managers of The South Orange Library, are gratified in being able to report to the eleventh annual meeting of the Association, that not withstanding the sever commercial depression which has characterized the year just closing, the affairs of the Association have been conducted without embarrassment, and the condition of the Library has not only been maintained, but is somewhat improved; with funds in hand, recently received, with which to make further purchases of books.

As appears from the Treasurer's report, the income of the Library from all sources has been $642.23 which, added to the balance from 1874 gives a total sum of $773.44. Out of this there has been expended $594.01 leaving a balance on hand of $179.43 and showing an excess of $48.22 over the balance brought forward from 1874. There is no debt.

Of the income, $350.20 was derived from concerts and donations - 450 from the Village Trustees for rent of room to April 1, 1875, and $242.03 from dues and fines. The only discouraging feature of our enterprise has been the small receipts from dues. These have been much less than they should have been, in view of the population of the village, the public character of the library and the advantages it offers to our citizens and their children.

The library has many friends, who have been willing to contribute time, taste, skill and money for the encouragement of the Association, that thorough its influence, they might promote the general welfare and aid in elevating the tone of society in our midst. During the past year these friends have given the citizens of South Orange an opportunity for musical entertainment and for improvement of musical tastes, accompanied by artistic surroundings, fully equal in quality to the best entertainments of similar character, afforded to the citizens of metropolis.

These entertainments, with others calculated to amuse and interest us, would have been much more numerous and remunerative to the Library, if there had been in the village a proper room or hall, in which to give them. The need of such a hall continues to be severely felt, and it cannot be long before our citizens must see, that even as a business matter, they cannot afford to deprive themselves of the advantages of a large comfortable place for public meetings and social gatherings. It is sage to assert that there is no place in the country of equal size, wealth and intelligence, which is so destitute in this respect, as is South Orange.

Considering the state of the times doubts were expressed of the expediency of fixing the price of admission to the last concert at one dollar. The managers would have gladly fixed it at the more popular rate of on half that sum, but from the high character of the professional talent engaged and the expenses incident to its employment it would have been impossible to meet such expenses at the lower rate. The result, it is submitted, fully justifies he judgement of the managers in their estimate of the intelligent appreciation of our citizens, of efforts to furnish here, entertainments of the first class. The proceeds of this concert were $105.20 and would have been still larger, but for an unfortunate and unavoidable coincidence of another entertainment on the same evening at a neighboring church.

During the past year there have been added to the Library ninety five books by purchase, and fifty six by donation from Miss Redmond, to whom the Association is indebted for the substantial evidence of interest in an enterprise, of which her father was one of the original founders.

The present number of books is 1646 - nearly all of which are in good order - the books taken out have averaged about ten per day or about 3000 for the year.

The reading room has been constantly used by subscribers and the managers consider it a very effective aid to the educational institutions of the village, as well as a pleasant place to facilitate the friendly intercourse of subscribers.

The rent of the room occupied by the Library has for some years, until the present year, been liquidated by the amount received from the Village Trustees for their use of it, for public purposes.

The present Village Board however, upon its accession to office in the spring of 1875 concluded that the rental was too large for the accommodation afforded. The managers of the library believing that its interests would be promoted by a discontinuance of such joint occupancy of the room - except at the old rental, after consulting several subscribers who offered to make special contributions to defray the rent of the room - declined to entertain the proposition of the Village Trustees, who thereupon engaged accommodations for their meetings elsewhere. Under these circumstances Charles E. Lum Esq, from whom the room is rented by the Association, has very generously taken off $25 - from the rental for the year past, and very nearly the entire remainder of the rent, has been contributed by other gentlemen interested in the library.