The Addison Library has been around since the 1850’s, when it was initially in the back room of the Addison House. However, it wasn’t until 1916 that, what some consider the first “organized library”, came to be. It was located in the Widdifield Drug Store. According to a report from Alice Slocum (the Addison Librarian from 1973-1990), the library was a cozy room in the back of the store with neatly organized shelves, a small table with chairs, and a member of the Addison Women’s Club there to assist you.
In November 1916, five people from the town of Addison held a meeting to form a Library Association. It was at the meeting that the decision was made to call the library the Addison Public Library. In order to obtain books for the library, a book shower was held on March 16, 1917. It was later decided that a person could become a member of the Library Association by donating a copyright book in good condition. New members of the library were required to pay $1.00 a year.
Despite best efforts, the library seemed to be losing momentum and circulation was declining, until 1929 when the Addison Women’s Club stepped up and pushed for a renewal of the library.
A motion to rehabilitate the library was passed in early 1929, and in February of that year the library was moved from the drug store to the Council rooms. Multiple book showers were held in order to increase materials available, as well bridge parties to help raise funds for new books and shelving. Members of the Women’s Club took turns tending to the library until 1931 when Iola Mathias, being paid 50 cents a day, was appointed the librarian of the Addison Public Library (which was open only on Saturdays).
The Lenawee District (County) Library was established in 1935, and the Addison Library soon became one of its branches. Circulation was now increasing steadily, which allowed for the library to be open two days a week, and a regular librarian was hired.
Flaude B. Cleveland, the local bank president, built the current building of the library and allowed the library a 99 year lease on the south portion. The north part (presently the village offices) was initially meant to be a museum. On March 17, 1949 the library moved into the new building on the corner of Main and Talbot.
In July 2023, the library, along with several local businesses, relocated to the former Key Bank location across the street. Volunteer students from the Addison High School football team, as well as community volunteers and staff, showed up on a summer day in July to help move books from one location to another.
The Addison Library has seen a handful of librarians through the years, including Alice Slocum, Ollie Safe, Mildred Schilling, Leora Iveson, Janet Thomas, Scott Culver, and Karen Swanberg. The currently librarian is Gennell Onsted.
The library is open five days a week and offers a variety of activities including weekly treats for patrons, book talks, and the yearly bookmark contest. Addison residents of all ages also participate in the Summer Reading Program each season.