The Pentwater Township Library will mark its 165th birthday Wednesday, Feb. 12 with a special celebration at the library at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited.

“Our library, one of the oldest in Michigan, was started with a $50 donation in 1855,” said library Director Mary Barker.

The library at the corner of Park and Rush streets was initially in many locations along Hancock Street, the village’s main thoroughfare, until it moved into its current facility. The entire collection was lost in a fire at the township offices when the building burned down May 10, 1928.

The Pentwater community’s love for its library, however, has kept the local library alive and thriving, Barker added. In 1996 a new library was built with the aid of a federal library grant on Park Street near the community school and the interior was completely refurbished in 2017. A new roof was also added in 2018 along with a new HVAC system and water heater in 2019.

Last year, the Pentwater Library issued a challenge to the community, seeking 165 donations to the library’s endowment fund to further secure the future of the Pentwater library.

“Of course, Pentwater is a summer resort town on Lake Michigan with many visitors from all over,” the library director said. Donations have not just come from Pentwater area residents, but from states like Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Missouri along with many cities in Michigan.

Donors were asked to be creative with their donations and they were. One family added up the ages of their family members and when it came to 165, they sent in a check for $165. Another family issued a challenge to other families to top their previous donations.

More than $7,000 has thus far been raised for the library endowment fund with 60 donations.

“We plan to keep the challenge going until the end of the year and hope we can meet the 165 donation goal. We didn’t ask for specific amounts so any donation will count,” said Barker.

Birthday cakes and light refreshments will be served at the reception/celebration.