Founded in 1847 when Dr. James Corbit, a young physician, willed a five percent Pennsylvania state stock certificate and two railroad certificates to the trustees of the district school in Cantwell’s Bridge, the library opened its doors the following year and became one of the first free lending libraries in the Middle Atlantic States. Since that time the library has continued to serve the people of Odessa and the surrounding area, albeit from different locations in town. After a fire in the original building, the library moved to the parlor of the David Wilson Mansion in 1924, and soon it outgrew the space. In 1937 Daniel Corbit had a second parlor wing added for the use of the library. The fireplace mantel and paneling were moved from that wing and now furnish the Delaware Room in the present library building, opened at 2nd & High Streets in 1968.
Today the Corbit-Calloway Memorial Library functions as an independent non-profit institution with a five-member governing Board of Trustees. It is a “contractual library” member of the New Castle County Library System, receiving a share of operating funds pursuant to an annually renewable contract. Additional operating revenue comes from the Division of Libraries in the form of an annual non-competitive grant requiring that the library meet specified performance standards. The library relies upon fundraising to supplement its book budget and to maintain and improve its building.
Board of Trustees Year 2017
President – Margaret Ryan
Treasurer – Virginia Briccato
Secretary – Janet Butler
Trustee -at- Large – Ron Vascik
Throughout its history as an incorporated non-profit, the Library has been governed by a five-member Board of Trustees who serve four-year terms and may be re-elected by majority vote. Officers are elected at an annual meeting, serve one-year terms and may succeed themselves in office. In all matters of policy, employment, budget, planning and legal affairs, the Board acts as the Library’s ultimate governing body and may delegate such authority, as it deems necessary, to the Library Director who serves as chief administrative officer.