In the spring of 1923, a traveling library was brought to Lu Verne by members of the Progressive Club, a group of local ladies who met regularly to discuss topics including history, music, novels and popular culture. Traveling library stations were common in Iowa at that time, provided by the State of Iowa Library Commission for communities without permanent library buildings. Lu Verne’s traveling library station was located in the balcony of a local general store.
In 1939, after several meetings between representatives of the Progressive Club and the City Council, the Lu Verne Community Library was officially established in 1939. It was housed in the City Hall for nearly 30 years, until the present library building opened in 1968.
The Kirchner-French Memorial Library in Peterson in Clay County was established in 1925 when Lena Kirchner French willed a farm to the town to provide funds for a new library. Lena was a member of the first family to settle in Peterson; she began teaching in the community at the age of 16. Her goal for the library was to ensure residents of all ages could be exposed to the joy of reading and life-long learning.
The library was initially located on Main Street and was operated by members of the local Federated Women’s Club. A permanent library building wasn’t constructed until 1937, when the community received assistance from the federal Works Progress Administration. After 70 years, the building remains an integral part of the community, serving as both the library and the city hall. Since 1937, seven librarians have served at the Kirchner-French Memorial Library.
The Public Library in Bedford, Iowa, sits one block west of the previously featured Taylor County Courthouse. Bedford was one of 99 communities in the state to receive a grant for a public library from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The library was dedicated and opened in 1915 at a cost of $10,000. Its exterior remains much the same today as it was at time of construction, featuring stucco with a red brick trim and red clay roof. Visitors will find two fireplaces and dark pine woodwork inside the library, which is open daily except Sundays.
Representatives from community clubs and organizations came together on Monday, March 17, 1941, to formally establish the Public Library Association of Lenox, Iowa. During the meeting, officers were appointed to the library board, a constitution was written, and plans were solidified to open the library within two weeks.
The newfound library was located in two rented rooms within a downtown bank building. Volunteers installed shelves in the rooms and organized the initial collection of books, donated entirely by local community members. In addition to book donations, library officers also encouraged monetary contributions. The first donor to the library was from nearby Creston:
Mr. N. I. Menzer of Creston was in Lenox Tuesday and, after hearing a brief talk on the library, asked if he could contribute. His check for $5 is now in the hands of the treasurer. Mr. Menzer has the honor of being the first cash contributor.
from the March 20, 1941, edition of the Lenox Time Table newspaper
Other donations were received by community groups and individuals, and by the library’s opening, the association had collected an additional $40. Due to lack of funds, a librarian was not immediately hired; the library was run entirely by volunteers and open twice weekly.
The current (pictured) library location was established in 1975. For more details on the library’s collections and features, check out their well-maintained website or Facebook page.
The Free Public Library in Humboldt was opened and dedicated on Tuesday, February 9, 1909. According to the Humboldt Independent, the library dedication was “well attended by the ladies and young people of the town.” The dedication included a number of speeches from local and state officials, followed by an official flag raising to commence the afternoon event. Activities were scheduled to run through the evening but were briefly interrupted due to a late afternoon snow storm.
The original library building is still in use, though it was expanded and renovated in 1992. The library features an Iowa limestone exterior and oak columns and woodwork inside; construction costs were covered by a $10,000 Carnegie grant.