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Reading club turns 80
Times photo: Brenda Steurer Diana Vance, Monroe, second from left, reads one of her award-winning stories as Lida Ludlow Reading Club members, from left, Kathryn Etter, Laverne Smith, Helen Johnson and Dorothy Johnson, listen Wednesday at Marge Wills house in Monroe. The reading club was organized by Lida Ludlow, who died in 1936, and celebrated its 80th anniversary Wednesday. Ludlow was a teacher and a member of the Monroe school board. The club was named for her several years after her death.
MONROE - Before Lida Ludlow died in 1936, at the age of 81, she played an important role in education in Monroe, particularly reading.

Her legacy still lives today in a reading group Ludlow started at the age of 75. Ludlow invited a group of women to her home, 2003 11th St., to read the "best in current literature."

The club was known as The Wednesday Reading Club for many years, until its name was changed to the Lida Ludlow Reading Club, to honor its founder.

The members went on trips to hear lecturers, noted politicians and speakers and visited museums.

The current rendition of the reading group has 14 members, and celebrated the group's 80th anniversary Wednesday, at the home of Marge Will, 2128 9th Ave.

As a teacher in the late 19th century, Ludlow taught Monroe children to read, while also teaching at a school in Iowa.

She also taught Sunday school for 54 years at the Universalist Church, now the home of the Green County Historical Museum.

As a member of the Monroe school board she initiated the idea of kindergarten to the school district. Kindergarten classes began in 1889.

As a prominent member of the community, she also helped establish the city's library.

In keeping with club tradition, the poem "Youth," one of Ludlow's favorites, was read at the 80th anniversary meeting.

"Youth is not a time of life, it is a state of mind. It is not a matter of ripe cheeks, red lips and supple knees. It is a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions. It is a freshness of the deep springs of life," one passage reads.

The club is for people who enjoy reading, and for people who like to hold a book or a newspaper in their hands, Club President Jean Tullett said.

Every month a member reads a book and presents a review to the club, she said.

The person can pick any book to review.

Diana Vance, Monroe, read two of her award-winning short stories at the anniversary celebration.

Tullett said the club has continued because reading remains popular

"It's good to see that people still enjoy reading," she said, with smile.

The club is open to anyone, with a $2 annual fee.

More information about the club is available by calling Tullett at 325-2962.