MECHANICAL PUBLIC LIBRARY HISTORY
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