A local Library Association was first formed in the Osceola County seat of Sibley in 1874. The association allowed membership at either a dollar or donation of books worth the equivalent amount, and books were kept in the County Recorder’s Office. By 1908, an agreement was reached so the city could lease the GAR Memorial Hall for one dollar per year for use as the Sibley Public Library.
In 1915, the community was awarded a Carnegie grant of $10,000. Land for the library was donated, and the new building was dedicated December 11, 1917. Since initial construction, two major improvement projects have been completed: a 1985 addition of a meeting room, genealogy room and children’s activity center, and a 2008 renovation project that included new carpet, new paint, and new furnishings. The refurbished library building held an open house in August 2009.
Several days after the local Ladies Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle opened a reading room in 1894 above a local hardware store, the building and collection burned to the ground. Following the accident, the community came together, donating books and funds and forming the Public Library Association by the end of the year.By 1906, the Sheldon Public Library was looking for a larger space and received a $10,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie’s foundation. The new facility opened in 1908.
When the Public Library in the O’Brien County town of Sheldon moved to a new location in 1969, the grandiose Carnegie building sat empty for 7 years before it was taken over and repurposed by the county geological society. Now in its 35th year of existence, the Sheldon Prairie Museum includes displays of early local industry, Indian and animal artifacts, military and school exhibits, and the Sheldon Hall of Fame. The museum is open Monday evenings plus Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday afternoons.
When Boston resident Fred G. Frothingham died in 1896, $2,000 was given to the O’Brien County community of Paullina to construct a library building. The money was accepted and in 1907, Paullina residents voted to purchase a lot for the building and donated over $2,800 in additional funds to purchase the book and build the new library. The Fronthingham Free Public Library was dedicated March 5, 1908 with Iowa Governor Albert B. Cummins addressing the audience.
In September 1972, the trustees of the Grace Methodist Church in Paullina provided the city with a land lot and $5,000 toward the construction of a new library building. The new (and present) library construction was finished in in 1975; at time of completion, the facility was renamed the Paullina Public Library. Iowa Governor Robert D. Ray spoke at the official dedication in October 1975.
Based in Sutherland in O’Brien County Iowa, Security State Bank operates a small branch in nearby Calumet; it’s open two hours each weekday to serve the community of 181 residents.
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