History of the Library
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The South Bend Board of Education in 1894, purchased a lot at the corner of Main and Wayne St. in downtown South Bend. The cornerstone was laid in the spring of 1895 and on May 8, 1896, the Library opened to the public. By the late 1920's, it was evident that because of its growth, a larger facility would be needed to house the main library. Tippecanoe Place was one of the buildings which seemed to surface when a new library building was discussed. Because of it's victorian features, this building become known as "The Castle".



In 1957, the Board of Education put into motion to have plans drawn-up for a new library building at the same site as the old one. "The Castle" closed on June 6, 1958 and the collection was moved to a temporary home at 221 W. Wayne St. On March 1, 1960, the new Library opened it's doors at 122 W. Wayne St. The library was now known as the Mrs. Betty Ruth Spiro Memorial Library. Betty Spiro was the wife of Samuel Spiro who was a long time South bend Merchant. Mrs, Spiro died in 1950 and left $250,000 to South Bend School City for a Library building....The "Ruth" name was for the Spiro's daughter who died in 1935.



In the late 1980's, increased patron usage and everchanging technology became the driving force to expand the Library. On October 5, 1987, Cole Associates, Inc of South Bend and Woollen, Molzan and Partners of Indianapolis were hired for the $6,039,000 expansions and renovation project. Groundbreaking took place on August 31, 1989 and on February 27, 1990, the South Bend Public Library officially became the Saint Joseph County Public Library. The dedication ceremonies took place on October 11, 1992.