Tuesday, September 3, 1946, Miss Mary Anne Toner opened the Mount Angel Rental Library in rooms formerly used by Dr. Ebner (on Main Street, in the building until recently occupied by Mt. Angel Shopper and Printing). The rental library was owned and operated by Miss Toner. She rented the books in her private collection at a rate of three cents per day. Some books were for sale and books from the state library were available for the cost of postage. The city opted to pay the rent on the building for Miss Toner, all other expenses were her. Two years late, the city began paying for lights and heat.
May 11, 1950, Miss Toner and her library were moved to the Kloft Building on Railroad Avenue. With the help of the Mayor, the City Council members, other citizens and a large flatbed truck provided by the City Attorney's son, the entire move was made in an hour and a half. The city elected to pay rent, lights and heating on the new facility. About this time, Miss Toner had legal papers drawn stating her intention to pass the library, books, furniture and furnishing to the City of Mount Angel at a future date. That event took place shortly afterward and the city took full responsibility for operation of the library. 1963 library records show city population at 1712, a 1949 book inventory and 624 operating hours. Miss Toner died March 23, 1964 at age 85. The library remained in the Kloft Building until the structure was extensively damaged by fire in 1966. The library worked around this setback while efforts were made to find a new home for it.
1968 records show population at 1925, inventory at 2243 volumes and 832 operating hours. In June of 1969 the library was moved to the new Upper Elementary School Library. In 1973, the city had grown to 2195 residents; book volume was 2353 and operation hours expanded to 1040. Use by the public put a decided strain on the school facility so an effort was made to find new accommodations.
In 1974 a feasibility study for growth of the city library was made at the suggestion of the Planning Commission. They requested a long range plan for the future of the city library. With some federal funding, assistance of the Oktoberfest Inc., formation of Friends of the Library and support from the community, renovation of the old Mount Angel Creamery building was begun as the new home for the library.
The Friends of the Library were vital to the success of the new library and the move to its new location. They provided decor planning, book selections, manpower for clerical work, wood cabinet finishing and bookshelves, developed a pre-school awareness center and provided most of the muscle for moving to the new site.
The Friends provided monies to assist in purchasing a vacuum cleaner and book shelving. They also purchased a 12-drawer card file and gave $225 for new books. All of this resulted in a brand new city library with Open House on October 20, 1974 with about 100 guests.
The 1976 records show population at 2540, books at 5419 volumes and operating hours established at 1040 annually.
From the fall of 1974 to 2005, the Mount Angel Public Library occupied the same site, and had established a Children's Reading Program, developed a great children's reading and entertainment area, expanded to a second section of the building and included the works of several local artists. The Friends of the Library were instrumental in establishing the preceding as well as providing a number of remodels of workspaces and book shelving. The generous support of the community and individuals, both physically and monetarily, and moving into the computer age, provides a library with access to an inventory of books and information that Miss Mary Anne Toner could not have imagined.