Butman-Fish Memorial Library


Monday & Tuesday: 12:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday - Saturday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Phone: (989) 799-9160
Fax: (989) 799-8149
1716 Hancock
Saginaw, MI 48602




Directions to Butman-Fish Library




View Larger Map




Public library services in Saginaw's west side began in 1836 when the first school in the city was built. Space was provided in the school for a public library, which was begun with donated books. After some difficult beginnings, the west side public library was reestablished in 1857. During the next sixty years, the west side public library was located in several sites, including Central School, Arthur Hill High School, and John Moore School. It was operated by the Union School District.

In 1913, William S. Fish donated $30,000 to build a library as a memorial to his wife, Mary, and her father Myron Butman.

"Gentlemen - I have in mind some kind of memorial for my late wife, Mary P. Fish, and her father, the late Myron Butman, to be known as the 'Butman-Fish Memorial' and am inclined to do so in the way of a library building for the Union School District..."

Located on the corner of Harrison and Hancock Streets, the Butman-Fish Memorial Library served the public from 1916 to 1978. By the mid-1970's, the original building was overcrowded and in poor repair. The Library Commission and the Saginaw School District made plans to replace it with a much larger facility.

The present Butman-Fish Library opened in January 1979 and serves as an active community library with an extensive program of children's services. In 1998, Butman-Fish was extensively renovated to accommodate modern library technology, make general building repairs, and make the library more handicapped-accessible.



Historic Highlights

During World War I, Butman-Fish was closed for several weeks because of a fuel shortage and the influenza epidemics. Books were collected to be sent to soldier's camps and hospitals.

In 1926, following the consolidation of Saginaw's school districts, the Butman-Fish Memorial Library, Hoyt Public Library, and the East Side Public Library were merged as the Public Libraries of Saginaw.

During the Depression, staff salaries were cut by 50 percent, but they were always paid on time and in cash. No new books were bought. Butman-Fish closed on Thursdays.

During World War II, the Victory Book Drive, under the direction of Mrs. Emilie Kahan, reference librarian at Butman-Fish, was responsible for collecting 3,484 usable books.

In 1972, Butman-Fish Library and Claytor Library were closed and Hoyt Library's hours were reduced because of the Public Libraries of Saginaw's financial situation. The library's first operating millage was approved by Saginaw voters in November, 1972.

In 1979, the new Butman-Fish Library opened at its present location. Constructing and furnishing the library cost $660,000, with most of the funding being provided by a federal public works grant.

In 1998, Butman-Fish Library was extensively renovated to accommodate modern library technology, make general building repairs, and make the library more handicapped accessible.