Remember When …

A look at a Bookmobile in the 1950s. Photos courtesy of the Burton Area Historical Society

A look at a Bookmobile in the 1950s. Photos courtesy of the Burton Area Historical Society

In Genesee County we are very blessed to have all the educational resources we have, such as our 19 Genesee County Libraries and Flint public library.

The library has been a very important part of history because it is a safe place to house all the ancient collections, scrolls, indexed items from all genres, historical government information and genealogy records.

The earliest libraries, or temple rooms, were found dating back to 2600 B.C. where ancient people would hide precious stone tablets of historical writings. Our oldest library in America was built in Massachusetts, the Sturgis Library in 1644, now the oldest structure and still standing in Cape Cod called The Lothrop Room. This house is special because the front of the house was used for worship and the back part was a library, this is oldest known library in America.

From around the world since ancient times the written word stands the test of time. Don’t you love to read and find a hidden fact no one else knew? I do. When I was in London, England a couple of years ago, doing my family research, I was so excited to finally see the history that I had read about in books.



One day I was able to travel and go to the British Library, and I had to sign up to get a reader ID to even look at their books. It’s the largest collection of 25 million books, 175 million indexed items, some dating back to 300 B.C. in the world. When I went through the main entrance and looked up, as I walked in the door, from the ceiling to the floor glass enclosed bookshelves (in a square cube 5 stories high) in the middle of the library with the archives. What a sight to behold

The year 1783 was the beginning of the U.S. Library of Congress that we now have in Washington D.C. which holds about 169 million indexed items. Some books were damaged during the War of 1812, so President Thomas Jefferson helped rebuild the collection, by donating some of his own books, to the Library of Congress to replaced damaged items. Do you have your library card? You can get your own library card and have free WIFI at the Genesee County Public Libraries or Flint Public Library, order books, research online, and DVDs at your nearest branch.

Our Library in Flint started back in 1851, by a group of community-minded ladies, wanted to help educate our families to read. There have been so many ways to teach literacy in Genesee County, with bookmobile (book buses) taking books to the neighborhoods and free tutoring and after school programs. The Mott Foundation has always helped in most educational endeavors. If you would like to be a friend of the library, learn genealogy or take a class, you can do it all at public libraries across the USA. Libraries have free genealogy so find your lineage, you can write your story of 2020, then read it to a friend. Look for a “little lending libraries” in your neighborhoods.

Remember When is a weekly column in the Burton View featuring historical stories about the community from the Burton Area Historical Society. If you have some Burton history to share, email History.