At each November meeting, the Club celebrates Christine King Memorial Book day, at which time members are asked to bring a book or money to pay for a book for the library. This is to remember and carry on the devoted service of Christine King, one of the founding members of the Afternoon Club. Miss King worked tirelessly for the library from its beginning in 1898 until her death in 1932, making many personal and financial sacrifices.
An annual campaign is conducted for financial contributions to the Franklin County Library System by the Chambersburg Afternoon Club since the club was formed in 1891 by a group of ladies to “improve the mental culture” of its members. Six years later, with donations of 25 books and $25.00, the women began a library, originally only for members of the club. In 1898, the Library became public, was housed in a second floor room over the National Bank, and was staffed by Club members.
Chambersburg Library, circa 1895, on the second floor of the Chambersburg Trust Company Building. This library was created, operated and maintained by the Afternoon Club.
The building to the left was formerly the Chambersburg Trust Company Building, 14 North Main St, as it stands today.
In 1924, the Library moved into the stone building on the Northwest corner of Queen and Second Streets, built by funds left by Mrs. Blanche Coyle, an Afternoon Club member. Annual support was received from Town Council and a trained librarian was hired just prior to moving to its present location in what had been the Post Office building in 1964. Extensive renovations were made, using funds from the sale of the old building.
The Coyle Free Library joined Franklin County Library and Besore Library of Greencastle in 1968 to become the Conococheague District Library with District headquarters located in Coyle Library. Additional library space was made available, an elevator was added, and the basement was converted into a children’s library after a successful renovation campaign in 1980. In 1998 all of these libraries consolidated into the Franklin County Library System with one Board of Directors and the Director.
One member of the Chambersburg Afternoon Club serves on the Board of Directors of the Franklin County Library System and some members give volunteer service to the library.
The Chambersburg Afternoon Club is more than a social club. In its support of the Coyle Free Library, it is the oldest service club in Chambersburg.