Library History

Oxford Public library building
Oxford Public Library logo
Oxford Public Library building south entrance

The history of the Oxford Public Library began when Mrs. Nellie Slayton, who died in 1901, gave a vacant lot on Hovey Street to the Christian Church. When the church was disbanded, the money from the sale of the lot was set aside for the purchase of a library building at such time as the library became tax supported.

In 1925 the Christian Slayton Public Library was established, in what is now the Veteran’s Building. It was operated with volunteer help. In 1927 the voters of Oxford Township voted to maintain the library and a library board was created. The library has been open continuously since 1925.

In 1939 the library board purchased the Howser house on Mechanic Street for a library. This was believed to be the oldest dwelling in Oxford.

In 1965 the voters of Oxford Township approved a 1-mill levy “for the purpose of providing funds for operating expenses and capital improvements for the free public library presently operating in said Township of Oxford”. In 1967 a new library building was dedicated on Burdick Street and in 1978 a 2,000 square foot addition was added to the facility. Also, in 1967 the library board changed the name of the library from “Christian Slayton” to Oxford Public Library.

In November of 1995 a $4.2 million-dollar bond issue was passed in order to build a new 24,300 square foot library on Pontiac Road. It is today a fine example of a well-organized library serving a growing community. The library is situated on 4- acres of wooded land and abuts a 57 -acre passive area park owned by the Township. It is governed by a six-member Oxford Public Library Board, who serve without compensation and are autonomous, being responsible only to the voters of Oxford Township who elect them. Funds for operating the library come mostly from the 1.85 mill levy approved by the voters of Oxford Township, as well as small amounts of State Aid and other miscellaneous income.

Only five individuals have served as Library Director over the years: Margaret Duff (1925—1942); Lillian Crawford (1942—1976); Renwick Garypie (1976—1984); Judith A. Doublestein (1984—2007) and Bryan J. Cloutier (2007—Present).