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Library History

Estherville Public Library Dateline
  • January 18, 1871 First meeting of The Progressive Society and Library Association
    February 23, 1880 Monday Club was formed
    1881 City of Estherville was Incorporated
    April 17, 1882
    Monday Club voted to start a library with a collection of their own books
    First Library:  Warren Barber Home (where Middle School now stands).  Mrs. Barber served as Librarian.

    Second Library:  Bemis Store (where the Post Office now stands).

    Third Library:  Dr. McMillan's Office (where the City Offices are now located).

    Fourth Library:  Second floor of Coon Block (above what is now Don Jose's Restaurant).

    The question of a suitable building for housing the library was expressed in 1897 (and had been brewing for several years prior).

    Ordinance No. 120 of the City of Estherville, approved on February 6, 1897, and signed by E.E. Hartung, Mayor, and N.B. Egbert, Citiy Clerk, authorized the submission of the question of levying an eight cent tax for the support of the library to the voters at the next general municipal election.  This was done and the voters, by a small majority, decided in favor of the tax.  This election was held in March, 1897.  However, on Tuesday evening, June 8, 1897, the trustees decided to close the library because of lack of funds.  All books were called in by June 15, 1897.  The special tax became available April 1, 1899, and the library resumed business.

    W.P. Ward, City Supervisor, corresponded with Andrew Carnegie in regard to a gift for a Library building in Estherville.  Mayor Hartung received a letter from Carnegie stating he would give $10,000 to the city with the understanding that the city furnish a site and pledge $1,000 annually for its support.
    1903 Carnegie building was completed and occupied by Fall.  First official Librarian:  Sade Davidson.
    1904 Volumes:  2,941
    Budget:  $2,091
    Circulation:  14,702
    Registered Borrowers:  1,095
    1905 Volumes:  3,364
    Budget:  $2,458
    Circulation:  13,770
    Registered Borrowers:  430
    1915 Volumes:  7,276
    Budget:  $2,045
    Circulation:  16,600
    Registered Borrowers:  410
    1917 Taxes approved for addition to balcony.
    1921 Lucile Peterson became Librarian.  The first redecorating took place.
    1925 Volumes:  11,500
    Budget:  $4,200
    Circulation:  40,600
    Registered Borrowers:  2,400
    1935 Volumes:  13,965
    Budget:  $1,956
    Circulation:  52,377
    Registered Borrowers:  3,150
    1940 Complete redecoration, new lighting system, and rewiring of building.

    Volumes:  14,252
    Budget:  $2,250
    Circulation:  34,529
    Registered Borrowers:  3,465
    1950 Volumes:  17,320
    Budget:  $6,500
    Circulation:  28,074
    Registered Borrowers:  3,073
    1957 First Children's Librarian: Maye Case.
    1960 Estherville Public Library became affiliated with the State Library of Iowa.

    Volumes:  24,290
    Budget:  $22,800
    Circulation:  53,304
    Registered Borrowers:  3,943
    1961 Carolyn (Knutson) Walz began employment.
    1963 June 1st, Lucile Peterson retired after 42 years.  Ethel Lyman was appointed Librarian.
    1969 County approved Library support.
    1970 Estherville Public Library joined Siouxland Co-operative.  Later Siouxland changed to War Eagle Co-operative. 

    A Large Print collection was introduced.

    Rural town support was received.

    Volumes:  31,253
    Budget:  $39,087
    Circulation:  78,527
    Registered Borrowers:  4,798
    1971 Bond referendum for a new building defeated by 81% .

    Ethel Lyman retired.  Christine Anderson was Director.
    1972 Christine Anderson resigned and Carolyn Walz was named Acting Director.
    1975 Carolyn Walz appointed Director of Library Services.
    1976 Air conditioning installed.

    Purchase of first microfilm machine (made possible with donations from local service clubs).
    1979 Redecorated Library:  paint, paper and carpet.
    1980 Water blasted, sand blasted, tuck-pointed, mortar and caulked the outside of the Library.

    Volumes:  54,279
    Budget:  $80,595
    Circulation:  105,578
    Registered Borrowers:  9,280
    1990 Volumes:  63,523
    Budget:  $152,025
    Circulation:  93,942
    Registered Borrowers:  10,522
    1991 Feasibility Study of the library.
    1992 Bond Referendum passed by 81%
    1993 Capital Campaign for Fundraising

    October 30, 1993 Closed Carnegie building.

    November 8, 1993 Opened temporary location.
    1994 April 4, 1994 Groundbreaking Ceremony for new addition.
    September 1995
    Volumes to date:  55,430
    Budget:  $188,110
    Circulation to date:  41,105
    Registered Borrowers to date:  10,798
    November 5, 1995
    Grand Opening of newly expanded facility.
    November 28, 2011
    Tena (Sunde) Hanson hired as Director of Library Services.  Carolyn Walz retired January 7, 2012 after 50 years of dedicated service.


This resource is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by State Library of Iowa.