The South Lyon Public Library came into being via a group of women belonging to the Tuesday Club. In the fall of 1938 these ladies called a meeting of representatives from all local clubs and started making plans. The community was canvassed for opinions favorable or not, and donations of twenty-five cents to become a charter member of the library were collected. The canvas was successful and on March 20, 1939 the South Lyon Public Library was opened in one room of a vacant store. People of the community had redecorated the room and contributed 1,600 books. Mrs. William G. Miller was appointed librarian with a token pay of twenty-five cents an hour. Finances were precarious. The City of South Lyon gave one hundred dollars and the library depended on gifts from clubs and the proceeds of raffles, card parties and bake sales. Our circulation was sound, the first year's circulation totaled 7,526.
In November of 1942 the voters of South Lyon voted to give the Library not less than 3/5 of a mill, nor more than 1 mill for operating expense. At first the Library got the minimum 3/5 mill from the city, but it was able to begin adding to the book collection and provide some tools for the librarians. That same year, the Kiwanis Club began their annual gift of a non-fiction reference book each month. The circulation continued to climb.
Also in 1942 the Library outgrew its first location and moved to the McWhorter house, where the educational building of the Presbyterian Church now stands. The Library now had more room, more books, and more paid help.
In 1956 through contract agreement with Lyon Township a branch Library was opened in New Hudson. The contract was on a yearly basis. With the Township Branch the Library was better able to serve the total community.
In 1961 South Lyon Public Library joined the Washtenaw Area Library Association, an organization of Libraries from Washtenaw, Livingston, and Oakland Counties. Open access to the collections of all member libraries became available to the patrons of the library.
December 1, 1962 saw the culmination of a gigantic community effort to raise funds for a new library building. The Friends of the Library group had organized a community-wide effort to stage a 2-day rummage sale plus all kinds of other projects, bake sale, lunch stand, country store, record shop, antique shop, book fair and so on. The efforts were successful and $2,800.00 was raised along with contributions from individuals and businesses. In all, $8,000 was raised to buy the land, furnish and landscape the new building. The City contributed about $16,000 and a great deal of volunteer labor helped to make this money stretch to cover the new building.
To the great sorrow of the community Mrs. Miller, who had been the spark plug for this new building died before the move was completed. Other hands completed the move, all labored as a memorial to Grace Margaret Miller. Mrs. Phillip Weamer succeeded Mrs. Miller as Librarian. Mrs. Weamer left to become High School Librarian in the South Lyon Community Schools and was succeeded by Mrs. LeRoy Herbon.
South Lyon's new public library on West Lake Street cost approximately $38,000 and was financed by a one-mill levy. Opened in October 1963, the 2,000 square foot structure was designed to house 8,000 volumes.
Salem-South Lyon District Library became a "district" in May, 1993. The process to become a district library actually began in 1992. In 1998, the library moved from the 2000 sq. ft. building on Lake Street to the 15,000 sq. ft. building on Pontiac Trail. At the time of the move, the staff was composed of one degreed librarian (the director), three persons working toward their degree, nine library clerks, and three library pages.
Library on West Lake Street
The building on West Lake Street housed the Library through its change to the Salem-South Lyon District Library, where it remained until the construction of the current building at 9800 Pontiac Trail, opening for business on May 2, 1998. The new 15,000 sq. ft. facility was financed by a $2.5 million bond issue approved by voters in May 1995 and was designed to accomodate an expansion from 22,000 volumes to 60,000 volumes. The origianl building was desined by architects of Merritt Callum Cieslak, PC. 
Construction of library building in its current location
In 2005, the Library Board and staff realized we were outgrowing our building and conducted focus group meetings to identify our needs for future library improvements. As a result of those meetings, a priority list was developed. There was a growing need for technology, a need for more space for materials, a need for quiet study rooms, more parking, requests for a drive-up book return, and a great need for employee workspace. That same year, the Board of Trustees hired a consultant to lead them through a Visioning Plan for the Library that would take it through the year 2010.
A strategic planning process is an important commitment for a library that involves gathering information from and about the community, examining comparable libraries and best practices, and involving the community, the library board, and the staff. A committee comprised of residents from the City of South Lyon, Salem Township, Green Oak Township, Library Board members, Friends of the Library and library staff worked with library planning consultants Marianne Hartzell and Joseph Mika  to focus on the library’s future.
During the planning process, participants identified several areas to concentrate on over the next five years including building enhancements, expanded technology, and enriched programs and resources for all ages.
The library board mailed out a survey to all residents in the library service area seeking input on the direction to take for the library’s future. The survey asked persons to circle the 3 areas where they would like the library to pursue expansion/improvements. After all surveys were returned, the results were tabulated and the Library Board was ready to interview architects and seek bids for the proposed expansion of the library. On November 10, 2006, the library signed an agreement with Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber  for Facility Assessment and Design Services.
Throughout November and December 2006 and into January 2007, the Library Board and Director worked out a program plan and summary of the desired improvements to the library building. A composite ranking was developed to narrow down what was desired in the library expansion versus what could be afforded. The overall goal was to provide an improved and expanded facility that met most of the priorities identified. The Library Board’s intent was to make the building improvements and expand the building without ANY additional tax increases. All of these details boiled down to a proposal for a 1,732 sq. ft. addition for staff workspace, a 2,265 sq. ft. addition for teen/computer space, and a 1,930 sq. ft. addition for the children’s wing. After much deliberation, it was recognized that only two of the three options could be obtained without asking taxpayers for additional revenue. It was decided that the two areas that would be expanded would be the staff workspace and the teen/computer space. The Library Board held a special meeting on March 5, 2007 at which time there was unanimous approval to proceed with the library expansion. The Library Board signed the Integrated Services Agreement with Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber on June 21, 2007 for renovations and additions to the library with an estimated cost of $1,376,881.
Groundbreaking for the library expansion in 2008
Groundbreaking for the project took place March 31, 2008. The library remained open during all construction with minimal disruption to service. The expanded and improved building opened for business in January 2009 with the following:
Statement of Expenses for Additions & Renovations:
Library after expansion and as it is today
Upon completing the library’s Vision 2006, the Library Board went on to create a new Vision for the library, Vision 2016. Now, in the year 2013, we find the library is continually evolving and making strides toward accomplishing its five-year strategic plan created in June 2010. The library now houses a physical collection of 92,333 items. Librarians in 2012 answered nearly 17,000 reference questions and 13,045 persons have library cards. The library is experiencing increased “virtual” use with 60,034 “visits” to the library website,12,598 e-books and audios downloaded, 1,104 Facebook followers viewed 165,942 posts; 688 Twitter followers; 1,730 subscribers to the library e-newsletter, The Compass. “Physical” visits to the library totaled 168,671 this year, with 43,337 computer sign-ins for the 48 public Internet stations, 4,857 wireless sign-ins (a 47% increase over 2011). The addition of a self-check-out machine at the front desk has been well-received with 67,395 items checked out and renewed during 2012, freeing up clerks to focus on providing quality service to the library’s patrons. A self-service holds room was built within existing space, a revamped foyer and lobby area including vending and coffee machines, and security cameras throughout the library (funded by a a Risk Reduction Grant from the Michigan Township Participating Plan ) were added in 2012. The vending machines were purchased by the Friends of the Library  and furniture purchased from Book' n Trilogy earnings.
The library has a dedicated 20 Mbps Internet connection serving our public computers and wireless Internet. It’s 3 times faster than the average Internet connection speed in the US and one of the fastest wireless hotspots in South Lyon. For someone on a slower dial-up connection, coming into the library could mean downloading a file in 1 second vs. 6+ minutes at home.
Volunteers at the library put in 2,216 hours, saving the library thousands of dollars and accomplishing a mountain of work. If you multiply the total hours by beginning pay of $9/hour it would come to almost $20,000 that the library would have paid out. Of course, the book room volunteers, (in addition to working for free) raised $24,092 for the library.
The Friends of the Library  contributed $18,742 to special projects for the library during 2011-12.
The “Friends Club” composed of our “little” Friends of the Library raised $547 for the library this past summer through an array of activities and fundraisers to benefit the library. Library staff members raised $4,720 dollars to assist the library’s budget via bake sales, a Wishing Well, recycling efforts, sales of tote bags, and securing monetary gifts to supplement the materials budget. Staff members held the 6th Annual Book’ n Trilogy Run/Walk , raising $4,100 for the library. Mark your calendars for this year's race on Saturday, May 18, 2013!
Library Friends Club
The library applied for, and received two grants totaling $3,258 from Target  for our Early Childhood Literacy Initiative and the Michigan Township Participating Plan  for a video surveillance system. The Lasting Legacy Brick Campaign has remained strong with continued sales of engraved bricks for the library’s Entrance Pathway and Military Pathway. 4”x8” brick costs $100.00 and a 8”x8” brick costs $250.00. For an order form, click here .
The Kroger Company has donated close to $8,000 to the library via the Kroger Community Awards  program since the library joined the program in 2010.
Adults, teens and children attended an array of programs at the library with 1,451 adults attending programs, 3,566 children, and 403 teens.
The pattern of increased use and shrinking funds continues again this year. Library employees will take four unpaid furlough days for the third year in a row. The library is dedicated to providing exceptional service while remaining extremely frugal in all areas possible. With careful management, the library will continue to be a strong force in contributing to the quality of life in the South Lyon, Salem Township, and Green Oak Township communities.
Our full Annual Report, Library Mission and Vision is available on the "About Us " page. If you like what we do, and you'd like to support the library beyond your annual property taxes, there are many opportunites to be found at our "Support Your Library ."
Thank YOU for making it possible for us to serve you! That's our job -- and we LOVE it!