The historic Ottumwa Public Library sits on the west side of the community’s Central Park. Constructed at a cost of $50,000, the Bedford limestone building opened to the public on September 24, 1902. Ottumwa was the third community in Iowa to receive a library grant from Andrew Carnegie; the two prior grants were awarded to Fairfield and Davenport in 1892 and 1899 respectively.
The 110-year-old building continues to serve the community of Ottumwa, and the library recently underwent a quarter-million dollar in renovations, including new flooring, furniture, and computer space on the main floor. Two unique attractions can be found inside the historic library: an original Grant Wood painting (Tame Flowers) and 13 Babylonian small clay tablets, which are roughly 4,000 years old and donated to the library in 1927. The Ottumwa Public Library is open Monday through Saturday.