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The first library in the area was a township library established in the 1850s, before Holland was incorporated as a city. After incorporation in 1867 the township library donated books to the City of Holland for the formation of a city library. For every 13 books kept by the township, 10 were given to the city (Holland Sentinel, 5-12-1976).
In 1893 a library board was established. By 1898 the Holland City Library was located in city hall (later the fire barn) on east 8th Street, with 3,000 volumes in their collection (1898 Holland city directory). By 1901 the library had moved to the second floor of the YMCA at 25 west 8th and boasted a collection of 4,000 volumes (1901 city directory).
As their collection of books grew so did the need for more space. In 1911 the library returned to city hall, only this time they were in the new city hall building on River Avenue, on the spacious second floor. By now the collection of books had grown to 7,176 (Holland Sentinel, May 1972).
It was librarian Hazel Hayes that first connected with Ray Herrick, writing him in 1958 expressing the needs of the crowded Holland City Library. With a donation of $325,000 ground was broken on the new Herrick Library in 1959. The new library was dedicated on 5-7-1960 (Holland Sentinel, May 1972).
The first librarian at the Holland City Library was George Sipp (1834-1896), serving from 1893 to 1897. George accepted the position of librarian on the condition that his wife handle the librarian responsibilities, which she did. Rachel Day Sipp (1835-1916) is credited as the actual first librarian.
Jennie Kanters to over the job in 1897, replaced in 1918 by Dora Schermer. Dora served as librarian until 1953, when Hazel Hayes took over. By 1953 the library's collection contained 24,000 volumes. Roger Walcott replaced Hazel in 1966 (Holland Sentinel, May 1972).