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From a Box of Books in a Small Town Store...

Boxofbooks1.tif PHOTO CAP: Boonsboro Free Library, 1907 (9 South Main Street)
Boxofbooks2.tif PHOTO CAP: Boonsboro Free Library, 2008 (401 Potomac Street)

From a Box of Books in a Small Town Store...
Boonsboro Free Library's history told on webpage

Boonsboro Free Library, a branch of the Washington County Free Library, will move to a brand new building in this April. The Washington County Free Library, chartered in 1898, opened in Hagerstown on August 27, 1901, and the librarian Mary Titcomb was determined that it would truly be a "county" library. November 1901 saw the arrival of the deposit box of 50 books from the library in Hagerstown to Harvey Bomberger's store on South Main Street, Boonsboro. Patrons could borrow a book to take home, at no cost. The first Reading Room in the town was part of the Boonsboro Republican Club's outreach to the community in 1900. At the first meeting of the club the members voted to allow "the Ladies" to read their magazines and newspapers between the hours of 9 am and noon.
The library and reading room combined in 1904. A charter was obtained in 1906 with a board of five trustees, with Harvey Bomberger as the first president. Mary Titcomb referred to the Boonsboro people as "the pioneers in this plan of permanent branches throughout the county." The library moved four times in its hundred years, all within a two block area, and now moves to a new location, as Washington County Free Library's newest branch building.
To celebrate the history of the library, the Western Maryland Regional Library's history website Whilbr ( ) has put online the story of the Boonsboro library. On the website are photographs of the various locations of the library and the minutes of the Republican Club. Included too are the original little wooden bookcase with Washington County Free Library - Boonsboro Branch imprinted on its door from Harvey Bomberger's store and a sign from one of the earlier libraries. A photograph of the Washington Monument, taken in the late 1890s by C. D. Young, a well-known Boonsboro photographer, and colorized by W. Downs, is also on display.
The entire collection can be found at

Western Maryland Regional Library is the Regional Resource Center for Allegany, Garrett and Washington County library systems in Western Maryland. Since 1970, WMRL has enhanced the services of local libraries. Whilbr, Western Maryland Historical Library, makes available online historical documents and photographs from the libraries and historical societies of the three western counties.

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