Sleeper Public Library

Ubly History

Albert E Sleeper       History of Sleeper Public Library

From the Bad Axe Tribune of May 29, 1908

What will no doubt be the largest and best public library in the Thumb outside of Lexington will be opened Saturday, May 30th, in the handsome rooms over the new Sleeper Bank.  The library of nearly 2,000 well-selected and well-bound volumes, of the best literature and reference works of all ages, is the gift of Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Sleeper, together with the rooms and furnishings.
Sleeper Public Library was endowed by Albert E. Sleeper and Mrs. Sleeper nine years before he became Governor of Michigan.  The gift of a Library was offered to the Village of Ubly at the May 4, 1908 meeting of the village council with no less than 1500 volumes, space over The Bank rent-free, completely equipped with heat and lights furnished.
The first book was checked out by Rev. McKenzie, May 4, 1908.
The first librarian was Cora Leach.  The librarian’s salary in 1912 was $1.50 per week.  Lila Leach, sister to Cora, served as librarian in 1920 – 1924.  The next full time librarian was Esther Peterson, employed in 1924 to 1935.  The board voted for Mrs. Sarah Mixter to succeed Esther Peterson as librarian and continued in this position until 1953. 
Albert Sleeper had sold his interest in the back to Citizens’ Bank in 1930.  Following his death in 1934, the Citizens’ Bank went into receivership.  Mary Sleeper deeded the real estate to Fred H. Brown for $25.00, with license to sell to settle Sleeper’s estate. 
Fred and Ellen Brown later sold the property to Hubbard State Bank.  The Library continued to occupy the rooms over the bank. 
March 11, 1948  the Village Council held a discussion on ways and means of converting the village hall on Queen St. into a library and council room.  The move out of The Bank building was accomplished some time later.
In June and October 1982 discussions continued about a possible new site for the library.  The John Maurer family had been contacted regarding the former Hubbard State Bank building.  In November 1982 the Library Board took options on the former Bank Building.  On December 9, 1982 the board notified the council of intent to buy.  Purchase was completed in February, 1983. 
The Library moved in March, 1983, back where it all began in 1908.  The community responded with overwhelming support and enthusiasm to help move and set up the library in its new quarters. 
A Dedication ceremony and Open House was held on Mayor Exchange Day in May, 1983.  Guest Speaker was Lila(Leach) Eilber, who had been librarian sixty-three years before, in 1920.  It was also the library’s diamond anniversary.
In 1990 the trustees voted to buy the former Ubly Party Store, which adjoined the library building, with a view to future expansion.
On October 7, 1992 Village President David Jaroch reported on a possible grant to renovate the former party store.  Through the efforts of Carl Osentoski of the Economic Development Corporation,  the village of Ubly received a $500,000 grant to establish a Senior Citizen’s Center.  The village proposed to place the Center in the Library building rather than locate the facility outside of town.  The Library provided the funds to guarantee the grant.  A new room was added on the East side to compensate the library for space given up on the west side of the building. 
A complete remodeling and renovation of the street level of the building was done, with a modern kitchen for the Senior Center, and barrier-free entrances and rest rooms. 
Village President David Jaroch appointed Trustee Janice Schrader to head up a steering committee to facilitate the grant process.  Janice and husband Larry Schrader devoted untold hours to the construction project which lasted more than a year.  Employees, Trustees, and Volunteers too many to mention gave generously of their time, effort and “know-how” to bring it to completion.  It was a true community effort. 

The present Library Director  is Barbara Butch and the present Library Board Members are:  Doreen Zulauf, President; Paul Kneffel, Vice-President; Jan Sageman, Treasurer; Renee Krueger, Secretary; Judy Harrington, Trustee; Bonnetta Wright, Trustee.

January 2008