ANDERSON-LEE LIBRARY HISTORY
In 1924 Mrs. Jesse D. (Helen Abel) Denny was recognized as the “donor of the Library.” However, Oliver Lee, Mrs. Denny’s grandfather, donated the original building. At first, the Library was called the Silver Creek Free Library. On February 2, 1924, the name was changed to the Lee Library to recognize Oliver Lee, and his two descendants living in Silver Creek, who were influential citizens.
At the dedication ceremony, Mrs. Denny shared her hope for the Library’s future, “From the spirit in which this library has been given, may the generations to come learn the lesson of service, civic pride, and community welfare.”
The first librarian was Marion E. Baird, who was also the high school librarian. In order to quickly stock the Library with books, most of the school library, except for reference titles, was transferred to the Lee Library. Mrs. Baird had been given special permission to leave school at 3:00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays so she could open the Library at 3:15pm. During this time, by law, the Library needed to be open 18 hours a week.
In the 1950s, the name Anderson was added, after Firnum G. Anderson. He was a local attorney, who had organized the Lee Library Association in 1929.
A campaign for a new library building was launched in 1959. The old Library’s location was in a former store about 500 feet from the current building, near the First United Presbyterian Church. The library director, Mrs. Gunnar Lindstrom, described the place as “rickety”. She was quoted in the Dunkirk Evening Observer saying, “We actually have to tread softly in here for fear the ceiling will come down on our heads.”
By 1963, the new Anderson-Lee Library was ready to be opened to the public. About 60 volunteers formed a “human walking chain” and moved 7,000 volumes from the old library to the new building in only one hour! On Sunday, July 14, 1963, 125 citizens attended the dedication ceremony given by Mr. Samuel Price, a Jamestown lawyer and president of the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System.
The Library’s staff in 1963 included, Mrs. Jane Lindstrom, Director along with Joan Egloff, Alice Harford, Doris Slawson, Elaine Hotelling, and Bradley Hornburg. Mr. James Keddie was President of the Library Board of Trustees.