“A ghost in the stacks”
The Madera Free Public Library was established in 1901 in the Court House and contained 1,157 volumes. Later in the year it was moved to the First National Bank Building where it was destroyed by fire in 1906. In 1910 it was reestablished with an annual income of $4,500 and on May 3 of the same year the Board of Supervisors contracted with the Board of Library Trustees to provide County Library service. In February, 1913, having outgrown its quarters, it was moved to the McCluskey Building. At the time, the total annual circulation was 6,609. On June 5, 1911, it was established again as the Madera County Free Library, being the first in California to organize under the present County Library Law. The Chowchilla library branch is said to be haunted by a ghostly chef who used to work in the building long ago, when it was a bowling alley.
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