Switzerland County Public Library celebrates 100 years this Saturday


“We hope everybody will come and enjoy the entertainment we have planned and check out the services we have available,” said Switzerland County Public Library Director Shannon Phipps, as the library prepares to host an Open House from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday, July 29th.

The Open House commemorates the 100th anniversary of the library here, and will include many fun activities, such as learning to juggle from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; a petting zoo from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; ‘West of Dublin’ will perform from noon to 1 p.m.; and there will be stories and songs by Dan Bixler from 1:30-2:30 p.m.

“It’s an appreciation to the community for their support for 100 years,” says Phipps.

While Vevay had a library in 1915, it was in 1917 that a levy was passed for a countywide library.

Phipps is planning to have a historical display, and people can check in with genealogy specialist Barry Brown during the event. Everyone can visit with the current staff, and Phipps hopes longtime librarian Lois Rosenberger will be able to attend.

The library has been in its current location since 1992.

The longest running program at the Switzerland County Public Library is ‘Story Time’ – where there used to be 68-80 children in attendance; but now there are between 10 and 15.

Times have changed with the development of ebooks and computers, but Phipps is proud to say “people still like their books.”

The annual Summer Reading Program just wrapped up for the summer, with 187 kids and 21 adults participating.


The first library here was located on the south side of Main Street, in a building owned by Mrs. Abner Dufour. She rented the facility to the library for $7 per month, partially furnished. The ladies of the library board were expected to be responsible for cleaning and decorating their new library.

On November 13th, 1917, the library received a letter from the Carnegie Corporation, informing them that the town of Vevay and Switzerland County would receive a sum of $12,500 for a new library building. A vacant lot on Ferry Street was purchased from Mrs. A .P. Dufour for $1,000, and a contract to build the library was given to the Dunlap Company for $10,975.

The new library building was completed and opened to the public on January 27th, 1919. This was the last Carnegie library built in Indiana, and one of the last in the United States.

In 1991, the library and the Town of Vevay exchanged deeds, and in 1992, the former Carnegie library became the Town Hall and police station, and the new library opened across the street, in the former Market Square Park, at a cost of approximately $492,000. The money for the new building was granted by the Vevay/Switzerland Foundation.

Current members of the library’s board of trustees are: President Allan Bear; Vice President Sharon Deck; Treasurer Diana Johnson; Secretary Howard Bruce Williams; and members Wanda Benzing, Denise Crawford, and Mary Jane Rogers. The Library Board of Trustees meets on the second Tuesday of each month, at 3:30 pm in the library’s meeting room.

Barry Brown is local history-genealogy specialist.


Along with reading materials, there are also different resources available at the Switzerland County Public Library, including such things as homework help, home school assistance, teacher resources, and financial aid. Also here are several educational resources for students, teachers, and parents that cover a variety of topics. If you want insight on a book before reading it, Kirkus Reviews is an excellent source for the most current book reviews.

Search the Evergreen catalog and check your account here. You can create lists and keep track of what you’ve read and you can place holds for books from the 107 member libraries.

Want to know what’s new at the library? Sign up for the weekly Wowbrary newsletter.

Listen to book recommendations and reviews by Phil Kuhn on ‘The Fly Pod’.

Want to keep track of what you’ve read and want to read? Want to see what your friends are reading and get recommendations for future reads? Sign up for Goodreads. It’s free! There’s also an app for your tablet or smartphone.

FictFact is a resource that can help you sort through all the different series that your favorite authors are writing. You can sign up for alerts to find out when the latest book in the series will come out. FictFact requires registration but it’s free.

Thinking of a movie with your favorite actor? You know the plot but you can’t remember the title. The Internet Movie Database provides all sorts of information about movies, TV shows and celebrities.

The New York Times Bestseller list shows you what’s hot each week in fiction and nonfiction for all ages in both print and ebooks.

Everyone is invited to come enjoy in some food and fun this Saturday, as the Switzerland County Public Library celebrates 100 years of service to the community.