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Putnam Library

The Putnam Public Library has an interesting history. It was started in 1923, with 300 books of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Putnam in the Putnam home which was willed to the village for that purpose. also included was the large French clock, antique walnut chairs and the enlarged portraits of the donors.

A trust fund of $10,000 was left to the village for maintaining the Library and another $1,000 for remodeling.

In remodeling, a partition was taken out between the living room and a bedroom, making a large room which is the main part of the Library. Another partition was removed between the dining room and  the conservatory, providing a larger children's room. The parlor remained as it was and houses the reference books, and is also the reading room.

The Women's Literary Club petitioned the village to start the Library and asked to do the work in establishing it. The Putnam Will provided that the house be left to the village for library purposes and this is to be started before a certain date, or the building would revert to their estate. The building began functioning as a library in 1923. At that time the literary Club formed a board to organize and administer the Library. It consisted of nine members, with a president, secretary and treasurer. Eva Dean was the first librarian, followed by Lucy Hinckley, Emily Hafner, Bertha McDerby, Marian (Nash) Potts, Ina Smith, and La Duska Sheldon.

The Library was supported by funds contributed by the Village of Nashville, Maple Grove Towhship, Castleton Township, and interest from the endowment fund given by the Putnam's. On March 18, 1949, Putnam Library received its first State Aid payment on the grant which was approved from the General Library Fund. In 1944, Mrs. Nash wrote the Director of State Aid inquiring about qualifications for a grant. One of the qualifications was that a library must have received, in its last fiscal year, an amount of money from local government units such as village or township, equal or greater than the three year average, which has been established for it. During the preceding fiscal year, Putnam Library qualified in this respect by grace of appropriations received from Castleton and Maple Grove Townships and the Village of Nashville. On May 1, 1965, the Village of Nashville passed a resolution adopting a form for establishment of a district library, whereby the Library would receive many more benefits financially. No state aid was received from 1951 to 1966.

The Board now consists of five members, two appointed by the Village Council, two by the Township Board and a representative from the Literary Club is appointed, who may sit in on meetings, but who has no legal voting powers.

In 1967 the Library received a grant from the McGregor Foundation of Detroit whereby they have a gift of $650 for reference books in 1967, 1968, 1969.

In 1968 the Library was the recipient of a painting from Miss Betty Kuhlman of Grand Rapids, Which had a very special significance. The painting "Country Landscape", was done in 1897 by Mrs. Charles Putnam and belonged to Miss Kuhlman's mother, Mrs. William T. Kuhlman, (formerly Fern Lentz) who painted with Mrs. Putnam.