Library History

Read how this library was established and how it has evolved to become such an important part of our community.

MECHANICAL PUBLIC LIBRARY HISTORY


old-library.jpg In 1947, the Self Culture Club (Federated Womens Club) spearheaded a drive for a public library. All social and service organizations in town were invited to an open meeting at the school house on January 6, 1947. At this time, a Public Library Association was formed. The formal opening of the Public Library on the second floor of the town hall building was held on May 9, 1947. Most of the 1,200 new and used books were donated and the shelves were built by local citizens. The first librarians were Mrs. Dollie Moon and Mrs. Martha Stookey. The library trustees are listed in the minutes as Mrs. Wheery, President; Mrs. Everett Ferguson, Vice President; Mrs. Maurer, Secretary; and Graydon Johnson, Treasurer.

Lack of success in negotiating an annual tax levy forced the library board to look to other sources for the needed revenue for operations. Teas, plays, carnivals, money and book donations provided the bulk of  the required funds. Circulation for the month of May 1947 was reported as 58 adult selections and 92 juvenile. In July of 1947 a Children’s Hour was begun.

The library closed for 5 months in 1955 and in April of 1956 a move was made to the first floor of the Iva Miller building on the south side of First Street. Renovations were done to the interior of the building. On April 28, 1956 an open house was held.

Gifts left to the library board from the estates of Emma Shrope and Lottie Smith were for the purchase of a new home for the library. In October of 1964 the board bought a building from Hurley Scott at 218 East First Street that had been remodeled. The city council accepted the building from the Library Board on January 3, 1966. A considerable amount of fixtures were installed and on June 2, 1966 the library moved to its present home. The complete package of furnishings and books were turned over to the town on May 6, 1967.

The mayor then appointed a new Board of Trustees: President Gladys Ferguson, Vice President Paige Wilson, Secretary Jackie Moffit, Treasurer Louise Davidson and members Dorothy Davis, Marguerite Ayers and George Brown. The library continued to function largely on book and money donations from individuals and social service organizations from within the community.

In the fall of 1981, the board decided to attempt to raise enough money to purchase part of the old bank building as an addition to the current location. Through sizable donations from the community and help from the city, the transaction was completed in early 1982. June of 1983 brought the library board’s decision to totally remove the wall between the buildings and renovate the interior. In June of 1984, the enlarged library was dedicated with an Open House. April of 1985 brought the addition of new carpeting and wall paper donated by the C.K. Smay Family and the Garden Club.

In 1996, another drive started to purchase the building attached to the west side of the existing library. Donations were made by community members, grants, the city and fund raisers. The expansion was completed in 1998 that is the library as we know it today. New furniture, carpeting and shelves were added to modernize the facility.

In March of 1977 the state mandated that each county must include monies for libraries in their budget. A library board had to be appointed by the mayor to handle these monies and budget, thus creating the library board system that we know today.

Since 1980 the library has seen many changes. The library was changed to the Dewey decimal system in 1980. Internet access was attained in 1997 and we now have 4 computers for internet access. December of 2004 the library installed an automated card catalog and check out system.

PAST AND PRESENT LIBRARIANS, ASSISTANTS & BOARD MEMBERS

Mrs. Martha Stookey  Mrs. Dollie Moon   Allene Butler   Mary Brown   Laura Wethington
Nancy Unruh   Betty Tylee   Mary Rose Walshire   Joyce Dauber  
Sharon Boyd   Janet Dohmen   Kelly Eby   Judy Hartman Shannon Walshire Meredith Dehmer
Mrs. Don Wherrry   Mrs. H.J. Maurer   Mrs. Hattie Nicoll   Mrs. Hugh Lamont
Margurite Ayers   Mrs. Everett Ferguson   Mrs. Alvin Davidson   Sara Mauer
John Kuehnle Sr.   Paige Wilson   Jackie Moffit   George Brown 
Norval Ells   Graydon Johnson   Raplp Cambell   Kathryn Lamont
Janet Cook   Kay Karster   Clarence Maher   Dixie Waddell
Judy Aberle   Sharon Eaker   Ruth Ford   DeeAnn Glover
Cindy Musselman   Mary Juhl   Shirley Jarzombek
Carol Balster   Jan Kuda   Wanda Farrington   Kathleen Sauer
Kathie Baker   Julie Lawrence   Inis Huffman   Michele Finnegan
Gary Trout   Kaylene Worby   Connie Broulik   Dave Glenn Burns
Paul Lawrence   Kirk Wenndt   Sharon Kern   Karen Railsback  Linda Patterson  Heck Gesling   Sandi Tonne   Lynne Edleman  
LaVonne Christianson  Deb Taylor   Marilyn Fitzgerald   Chad Rubner   Shelly Boyd   Dave Hedrick   Amy Miller-Dick   Ann Canfield  Geri Alger  Rob Yost  Sally Hunt
Gary Doermann George Patterson