The distance from Kris Ault to Judy Koller spanned two staircases, one lawn, one street, one parking lot, more than 500 pairs of helpful hands, and several generations of Monroe readers, between the old Arabut Ludlow Memorial Library and the “new” Monroe Public Library.
The Kiwanis Club of Monroe also played an active part in the process leading to a long-awaited goal of improved library facilities.
The Friends of the Ludlow Memorial Library, Inc., is an organization that was incorporated as a not-for-profit group in 1990. The individuals who founded the Friends were familiar with the facilities housing the Ludlow Library, and with evaluations conducted by the various library boards since 1972 that concluded the facility had serious space needs.
Among the founders of the Friends of the Ludlow Memorial Library included four Kiwanians: Jim Beyers, Jack Kundert, Clarence Peters and Jeff Ingebritsen. Another Kiwanian, Diana Vance, also served on the Friends Board during the fund-raising process.
The Friends of the Ludlow Memorial Library set, as its principal goal, support of the Library Boards’ efforts to educate the community about the needs at the Ludlow Library, and leadership of a drive to accomplish the necessary improvements.
The first major donation toward the library project was a $10,000 donation from the Kiwanis Club of Monroe. The late Dr. Nathan Bear, a longtime member of Kiwanis, and a supporter of the community, left a $20,000 bequest to the Monroe Kiwanis Club to be used as the club considered best for community projects. The Kiwanis Club solicited numerous applications for those funds, and interviewed those who made application. The Monroe Kiwanis Board determined to pledge $10,000 of that money to the library project for use to improve the children’s room.
Visitors to the renovated Monroe Public Library (the former Monroe Clinic) have been delighted with the facility and with the new children’s area within the library.
The Kiwanis Club also began sponsoring the Library Storyline project in 1992. Within a few months, calls to Storyline (through the children’s library) were exceeding 1,100 per month.