A community library was established in the Webster County of Harcourt on July 1, 1950 by the local American Legion Auxiliary. After three years, the library became tax-supported with money appropriated for operations from both the town of Harcourt and the Lost Grove township. The library moved to its present building in the late 1970s; it’s open four days each week.
In October 1896, fire destroyed 23 buildings in the Adams County seat of Corning, including the home of the newly-formed library and its 500-book collection. Within a few months, $200 was raised, additional books were donated, and a new library was opened in a room over the Z.T. Widner store. The store was the first of three library locations before a permanent, $2,500 building was constructed in 1900.
Later that year, a municipal tax was approved, brining $639 annually to support the library. After 30 years in the location, Mrs. F.C. Okey gave $10,000 to the library board for expansion, and the pictured building was constructed shortly after. A $200,000 expansion was constructed to the west of the original library in 1981. The library purchased its first computer, an Apple IIe, in November 1983.
In 1937, the local Study Club in the Winnebago County town of Thompson voted to sponsor a community library as a civic improvement project. The club assembled a library board consisting of representatives from several local organizations; by January 1938, over 250 books had been collected and the library was operational. The library occupied a room in town hall for its first 45 years.
In 1983, the library board received a $20,000 grant from the Kinney-Lindstrom foundation to finish a portion of the new fire station building for library use. Community groups volunteered time and money for interior furnishings and library equipment, plus exterior landscaping. The library remains in the same location today; it’s open five days weekly.
A library association was formed in the Fayette County town of Oelwein in 1909, with $1.00 memberships required to join. The fee was dropped in 1911, with a free public library group formed and ownership given to the city. The library’s first location was within the second floor of the town’s city hall, open six days a week, four hours each day. The first librarian was paid a salary of $30 per month.
The pictured, permanent library building was constructed in 1929 at a cost of $40,000, designed by Raymond F. Moore, a Cedar Rapids-based architect. The brick building was significantly remodeled in 1967, with the addition of a new balcony, office, circulation desk, carpet and book shelves. The facility housed the library until July 2006, when a new, $2.6-million library opened its doors.
The Women’s Civil League organized the first library in the Floyd County community of Rockford in 1917, with 360 books catalogued and available for borrowing the first year. In 1920, the Rockford Free Public Library Association was formed, then moved to a larger space in the Township Hall in 1923. In 1965, the library board and the Rockford Lions Club began a fundraising drive for a new building. A $10,000 contribution from the Kinney-Lindstrom Foundation of Mason City, federal grant funds, and generous resident donations combined for enough money to begin construction in April 1967. The current location opened its doors on March 11, 1968.