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Library History

Read how this library was established and how it has evolved to become such an important part of our community.

    The Coon Rapids Public Library is a memorial to the civic spirited women of Coon Rapids.

    The earliest library in Coon Rapids was a collection of 100 books for the State Traveling Library, housed in the home of Mrs. C. F. Caswell. Borrowers who paid 10 cents per quarter, could take out one book for one week. Other homes where it was kept were those of Mrs. B. H. Shute, Mrs. Edward Garst, and Mrs. J.E. Shafer. Transportation on there books was paid by the Women's Clubs.

    In the Oct. 31, 1901 issue of the "Reporter", one of the short lived newspapers published by Mr. Haege, was a notice of a meeting to discuss the opening of a Library Reading Room "to furnish entertainment, to amuse as well as benefit the young people of the town." A book social and benefit was held for that purpose.

    In 1912 the home culture club undertook the task of starting a library and the Women's club and P.E.O.  were asked to co-operate. The G.A.R. gave space in their building which they later deeded to the town. All labor and materials were donated for the remodeling. The town was canvassed for books and a book shower was held.

    This library was open three afternoons and two evenings per week. The work was done by volunteers and the book committee with a different person in charge each time the library was open.

    By  1914 there were 500 books but no reference books. In 1916 the Home Culture Club presented a petition for a tax to support the library. This was defeated so a auction was held on the street to raise money and various monthly benefits were held to earn money for the library.

    In 1924 the tax passed and the library was dedicated in 1940. The Board members were Mrs. John Miller, Dr. C.E. Wolfe, Mrs. L.W. Miller, Mrs. Lottie Jones, Walter Beinneke and M.B. Keister.

    In 1959, Coon Rapids joined the Raccoon Area Library Association. Member towns own a certain number of books which are circulated among all towns in the Association. The approximate number of books in the library at this time was 12,000.

    When the library outgrew this location, the library board began a building campaign. The Coon Rapids Municipal Utilities were also building at the time and included space to handle a new accessible library. In 1977 the present library moved into the new building. The board members were Mary Campbell, Drexel Nixon, Lyle Crisman, Phyllis Dixon, Donna Slaybaugh and Dianne Jensen. In 1990 the Library became accredited by the state of Iowa.  In May of 1997 the library switched to an on-line card catalog

 

Interested in more history?Check out the Iowa Historical Society!
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