Coloma Library

Turning the Page on Our Future

Our Mission Statement

The mission of the Coloma Public Library is to provide access to informational, educational, cultural and recreational library materials and services in a variety of formats and technologies; to be responsive to the public library needs of the community; and to uphold the public’s freedom of access to information.

Our Administration

Harold E. Bragg – Library Board President

Karen Nickels – Library Board Vice President

Judy Clark – Library board Secretary

Susie Moser – Library Board Treasurer

Alice Mow – Library Board Trustee

David Scheuer – Library Board Trustee

Mary Harrison – Library Director

Meet Our Director

Mary Harrison

I began my library career in 1984 as a 14-year-old page with the Kalamazoo Public Library. What started off as a fun way to earn extra spending money after school blossomed into a life-long dedication to library service. In the 37 following years, I have worked in different libraries and various capacities in both Georgia and Michigan. In 2019, I was delighted to return to Michigan and land in charming Coloma as the Director. It is my goal to nurture the same positive spirit of our town by keeping the library as a welcoming community center.

On a personal note, I enjoy running, Japanese anime and consider myself an adventurous foodie.

To contact me directly, email

Library Policies

Brochure Room Policy

Circulation Policy

Coloma Public Library Reopening Plan

Community Room Policy

Community Room Rental Agreement

Emergency Closing Policy

FOIA Policy

Hotspot and Borrower Agreement

Internet and Computer Use Policy

Library Account Policy

Pandemic and Public Health Policy

Patron Code of Conduct Policy

Policy for Addressing the Coloma Public Library Board

Preparedness Response Plan

Printing Policy

Library Board Meetings

The Coloma Public Library Board of Trustees meets bi-monthly (February, April, June, August, October, and December) on the 3rd Monday at 5:45pm in the Community Room. The public is welcome to participate. To obtain a copy of the agenda prior to the meeting, contact

Our Library History

A dream of the newly organized Self Culture Club in 1902 was to begin a library.  After two years of planning, the club ladies each donated a book.  In 1904, Mrs. Luella Howard contributed space in her cupboard and acted as librarian in her home.  In 1905, the library was moved into the Zuver building.

Library’s Location On East Logan

In 1923, the library moved into the front room of the I.O.O.F. Hall.  In 1955, the library moved into rooms of the newly built City Hall.  In 1963 the club, feeling the project had grown beyond their volunteer service, met with city and township officials, and in December presented to them all books and equipment to be used as a public library.  The public library was formed between Coloma Township and Coloma City under Public Act 164 of 1955.  Mrs. Kenneth Tibbs became the first librarian to serve under the newly formed public library.

Library’s Location On Paw Paw Street in Coloma

The building on East Logan Street was completed in 1964, and was praised at the time as beautiful and roomy, but by 1970 it was overcrowded.  Remodeling of the former Ferguson dime store at 262-264 Paw Paw Street, for the Coloma Public Library began in the fall of 1977.  The library opened in its new location on Thursday, January 5, 1978. 
After 24 years at the library’s present location it was recognized that expansion was inevitable.

Library’s Location Today

The library broke ground April 4, 2003 for a new building at the library’s present site. The library was dedicated on April 25, 2004 and is a busy and vibrant place. If you haven’t visited your library, now is a great time!

Celebrating 42 Years!

We celebrated the 42 years of service of outgoing Director Charles Dickinson in June 2019.

In 1923, the library moved into the front room of the I.O.O.F. Hall.  In 1955, the library moved into rooms of the newly built City Hall.  In 1963 the club, feeling the project had grown beyond their volunteer service, met with city and township officials, and in December presented to them all books and equipment to be used as a public library.  The public library was formed between Coloma Township and Coloma City under Public Act 164 of 1955.  Mrs. Kenneth Tibbs became the first librarian to serve under the newly formed public library.

Coloma, Michigan History

Coloma’s First Name – Shingle Diggings

Job Davis of Cass County (MI) is the first white man in this area of whom there is any record. In 1832 he purchased 150 acres of land in section 21, intending to get out shingles, floating them down the Paw Paw River to the St. Joseph market. The first year his wife died and Davis sold out to Griffith, Hoyt and Hatch of St. Joseph (MI). Hoyt had come to St. Joseph in 1829 and established a business there. Davis had the mill pit dug and timber cut for the mill frame, so the new owners expected a speedy completion of the project. It included a canal connecting Paw Paw River and Paw Paw Lake near Douglas View Resort (just west of the present Paw Paw Lake Golf Club). They surveyed the land, laid out a town to be called Griffith near the mill, and sent out word that a lively business center would be built.

In October 1833, Levi Ballengee advertised for a shingle maker. Stephen R. Gilson of Chautauqua, NY, was enroute to Chicago and had stopped for a few days at the home of Stephen R. Purdy in Berrien Springs (MI), where he learned about the job. Being a shingle maker he traveled over to the Shingle Diggings and entered into a contract with Ballengee to assist him in getting out 125,000 shingles. The project was begun in November. Gilson identified himself with Coloma during the rest of his life.

By 1837 (the same year that Michigan became a State), Shingle Diggings was composed of several families, a log cabin school with Mary Young as the teacher, and a Presbyterian minister, Simson Woodruff. But the lumber for making shingles was soon exhausted and in 1838, Shingle Diggings was abandoned as quickly as it had been settled.

Coloma’s Second Name – Dickerville

In 1836 Moses Osgood came from New York and bought land west of the present city limits of Coloma. He was the first settler to stay in this area to do farming. He planted the first fruit orchard. His brother, Gilson Osgood, came to this area in 1841. He bought land, and later built a tannery on a stream known today as Tannery Creek. Gilson Osgood also built a shanty-like building on South Paw Paw Street near St. Joseph Street and opened a store. Because the people had very little money, they would “dicker” for what they wanted to buy at the store. This means that they would offer something they had in exchange for something they wanted. There was so much of this dickering that the settlement along St. Joseph Street became known as Dickerville.

In spite of the fact that little money changed hands, and “dickering” continued to be the order of the day, business flourished and Osgood replaced the building with a new structure. The store goods were brought from St. Joseph by boat, and when settlers heard the whistle announcing the arrival of the boat they planned to be at the store in time to get their share of the merchandise. Some supplies were brought by stage from Chicago and farm produce returned in like manner. The village of Dickerville had become a stagecoach stop on the route from Detroit (MI) to St. Joseph.


In 1850, the California Gold Rush was under way, and Stephen R. Gilson, his son Warren, in company with several others from nearby communities, fitted out a team and wagon and, leaving the rest of the family in Dickerville, went off for the land of gold. During his search for gold, he stayed in the village of Coloma, California. Coloma is also the name of a fragrant and beautiful flower which grows on the Pacific slopes. Gilson returned to Dickerville to stay about 1855.

It was about this time that the United States Government was seeking to establish a mail service. The name “Dickerville” did not seem to be a good name for a settlement that was going to have a post office. Gilson suggested the name of Coloma and it was accepted.

Visit the Coloma Public Library for additional Information on the History of Coloma.

  • Trails from Shingle Diggin’s by Mabel Branch Stark
  • Souvenir History of Coloma, Michigan -and- …Program… of the Centennial Celebration August 20 to 12, 1936 compiled by Mrs. Allen C. Stark
  • A Community Grows by Nancy L. Quigley
  • Town on Wheels by Linda Borden
  • Berrien Bicentennial by James T. Carney
  • Glimpses of the Past: Stories and Pictures of North Berrien Pioneer Families Compiled by the North Berrien Historical Society
  • History of Berrien and Van Buren Counties
  • Paw Paw Lake: a 100 Year Resort History 1890’s – 1990’s by R. L. Rasmussen
  • Paw Paw Lake, Michigan (Images of a Lake) by R. L. Rasmussen
  • And various other sources including Vertical File, photographs, family genealogies, obituaries, etc.

Job Opportunities

Equal Opportunity Employer

Equal Employment Opportunity is a fundamental principle at the Coloma Public Library, where employment opportunities are based on job qualifications without discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, veteran status, disability, height, weight, familial status, marital status or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

We respect the diversity that exists within our Coloma community and among our employees, and strive to maintain a workplace culture based on inclusiveness where respect, equity and positive recognition of differences are cultivated.

What Happens After You Apply

We know that once you submit the application, you’ll be eager to hear back. We are also eager to find our awesome new team-mate! However, we expect to receive quite a few applications and it will take some time to sort through them.

We will acknowledge receipt of your packet so you know we have it. Once we’ve gone through the packets, we will reach out to applicants for interviews.

After the interviews are completed, all candidates will be notified of the status of the position.

The process may take several weeks overall.

We meet so many delightful people in interviews, but only have one slot to fill. If you are not selected for the job, please consider applying for another opportunity in the future.

Apply for a Job with CPL

Please note, applications are accepted when there is an open position available at the Library. Prior applications are not kept on file once the position has been filled. Interested applicants are welcome to apply for subsequent job opportunities by completing a new application form.

Tips for Applicants

  1. Read the job posting carefully before you complete your application. Note the minimum qualifications, scheduling requirements, and physical requirements for the position.
  2. Provide details of your work history. Provide descriptions of duties and responsibilities.
  3. Fill out the application completely. Make sure you have everything you need to know including dates of previous employment and names and addresses of previous employers. Demonstrate in your application why you are qualified for this position.
  4. The preferred method to submit materials is electronically via email. You are encouraged to add a resume as well as a brief letter of interest.
  5. Carefully read the section on the last page of the application, in blue bold text, before signing and submitting your application.

Review the American Library Association Code of Ethics to gain insight on serving in libraries.

Please contact Mary Harrison, Director, at for questions.