KDL Celebrates 75 Years!

This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the Kent District Library, and we’re celebrating with a number of events, highlights, and special initiatives all year long to chronicle the journey. From 1936, when the Kent County Board of Supervisors officially established the Kent County Library, to today, we’ll be highlighting some of the key milestones, achievements, and challenges we’ve encountered along the way. Many things have changed in those 75 years, but our goal of enriching lives by providing outstanding library service still remains the same. 

Stay tuned throughout the year as we take a trip down memory lane and look at a few of the highlights that have taken place over the course of our 75 years. 

Now, a few treasures from the KDL archives:  

The Old Kent County Courthouse (circa 1940s), an early home of the Kent County Library.


Mabel Balyeat: Library Pioneer and founder of the Kent County Library Association. (Photo taken in 1984)


Kent County Library Bookmobile (1950s)


The Kent County Library bookmobile makes a schoolhouse stop.


Do you have any old Kent County/Kent District Library memories you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them! Please share your story in the comments section below.

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Written by Eric


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5 Responses to “KDL Celebrates 75 Years!”

  1. Gary T. Says:

    I remember the old bookmobiles! They came to my school in Grandville. What a wonderful service. I’m 68 now and it’s amazing how much the library has changed.

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  3. Karen Halstedt Says:

    Back in the 50’s the library on 44th Street SE was the Paris Twp. branch of KDL. We lived across the street and I used to take my little red wagon along to bring back more than an armful of books at a time. I then proceeded to read to the family dog while sitting on top of her doghouse. Or after my dad built a playhouse I would line up the dolls and read to them. Must have had the smartest dolls and pets in the neighborhood. But those were surely good times. The library then moved over to 52nd street and then finally to Kalamazoo Ave. at the current Kentwood branch. Of course we frequented the Wyoming branch also. That is where my boys did all of their reading clubs through.

    Thanks to the internet I request all my books on-line and then my husband picks them up for me at the Krause branch. I send him there weekly so they should know him by name now.

    Thank you KDL for many years of wonderful reading adventures and such great service. Here’s to another 75 years.

  4. edehaan Says:

    What a wonderful memory, Karen. It so great that we’ve been able to serve our community members in such a variety of ways for the past 75 years. We certainly hope you’ll continue to do so — and we hope all the dolls, pets, and boys have the same educational opportunities as yours did. :-)
    Thanks for sharing.

    We’d love to hear more stories like Karen’s, so keep them coming!

    Eric DeHaan
    KDL Communications Manager

  5. Nancy Warner Trevino Says:

    I was doing research on mobile libraries and decided to ‘google’ my wonderful Aunt Mabel Landis Balyeat. She was my father’s favorite aunt. She was one of 4 sisters and I have some lovely pictures to share if you would like. The last time I saw her she was about 100 years old and still working in the library in the home where she lived, writing beautiful letters, and reading the newspaper every day.
    She was so proud of her accomplishment, I cannot imagine what she would say if she could see what has become of the library system today!!