Odebolt Library History

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History of the Library in Odebolt

Visit the Odebolt Library as it is today.

Early Circulating Libraries

There are two circulating libraries in the place. One is kept by C. S. Lee, who thus feeds the mental as well as the physical man, and is largely patronized in the wants of both. The other is kept by Mr. John Heuston at the clothing store of A. B. Dubbs, and is liberally patronized.

ODEBOLT OBSERVER, Vol. 2. No. 11. September 14, 1881.
The circulating library of A. Stoops & Co., at the City Drug Store, is the place to get the latest and most interesting reading. History, poetry, travels, etc. in great abundance. Also agents for the great American Book Exchange that is issuing standard works cheaper than ever before published.


The Odebolt Library  begun by the Women's Reading Circle
Odebolt Chronicle, Vol. 10, No. 11, July 23, 1896

Tomorrow (Friday) Cloid H. Smith will turn over 40 per cent. of the receipts from soda water sales to the public library fund. Every purchaser of a glass of ice cream soda will be presented with a beautiful button hole bouquet, provided by the Ladies Reading Circle. The soda water will be served on tables and the room will present an attractive appearance. Electric lights at night.


Public Library Assured.
Odebolt Chronicle, Vol. 11, No. 32, December 16, 1897

About two years ago the Women's Reading Circle, an organization comprised of 20 Odebolt women, conceived the idea of raising funds for the establishment of a free public library in this place. They gave a number of entertainments and had several lectures under their auspices in aid of the project, and having secured about $150 as a nucleus, started out a short time ago to raise funds by subscription. Hon. W. W. Field headed the list with a subscription of $500. W. P. Adams, W. A. Helsell and Joseph Mattes gave $100 each, and a number gave according to their means and inclinations, until the amount now pledged is $1,408.

On Monday evening a called meeting of the subscribers was held in the opera hall to perfect an organization. W. A. Helsell was elected chairman and W. E. Hamilton secretary. After some discussion it was decided to incorporate the library association under the laws of the state, and W. A. Helsell, Joseph Mattes and Cloid H. Smith were appointed a committee to prepare articles of incorporation and have the same filed. It was decided to have the officers of the association consist of a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer and three directors, and the committee on incorporation was instructed to name in the articles as the first officers: Hon. W. W. Field, president; Henry Hanson vice-president; Mrs. H. J. Matthews, secretary; John R. Mattes, treasurer; Mrs. W. A. Helsell, W. F. Bay and Dr. A. Gromann, directors. It was also decided to issue stock in shares of $5 each to subscribers, according to their subscriptions. The officers to be named in the articles of incorporation will hold until the next annual meeting of the association, which will be held on the first Tuesday in February. The entire management of the corporation will be vested in the president, vice-president and the three directors.

Arrangements to establish the library will be made as soon as possible, although it is probable that the books will not be purchased until after the meeting on the first Tuesday in February. Additional contributions have been promised, and by that time the association will know how much money it will have to invest.

Thanks to the perseverance and devotion of the members of the Women's Reading Circle and the liberality of a number of the citizens of Odebolt and vicinity, this community will have a library which will be a credit and a benefit to the town. There is enough money pledged to start the enterprise on a modest scale, but more is needed, and there are many people who can well afford to contribute who have not yet done so. Now is the time for them to come forward with the amount they can spare for an enterprise designed to educate and benefit the community. Let us start the library in good shape, and the work of keeping it up will be easier. We trust that there will be a generous response to this appeal, and that every citizen will feel an interest and a pride in an institution that is to be permanent. To what better philanthropic use can money be put than in giving the poor access to the best literature?


Odebolt Chronicle, Vol. 11, No. 39, February 3, 1898

The Women's Reading Circle will give a literary and musical entertainment, followed by a spelling bee, in the opera hall to-morrow (Friday) evening. The best speller will receive a prize. Admission, 15 cents; children under twelve, 10 cents. Proceeds go to the public library fund. Begins at 7:30.

The first annual meeting of the Odebolt Library association was held on Tuesday evening. Officers were elected for the coming year as follows: President, W. W. Field,; vice-president, W. A. Helsell; secretary F. P. Motie; treasurer, W. F. Bay; directors, Mrs. W. A. Helsell, Mrs. H. J. Matthews, Jos. Mattes. The association has been incorporated with a capital stock of $1,000, divided into shares of five dollars each. The officers will arrange to purchase books, secure rooms and open the library as soon as possible. The more stock taken the more complete will be the library, and all who have not subscribed are requested to invest in stock and help to make the institution a credit and a benefit to the community.


Odebolt Chronicle, Vol. 11, No. 48, April 7, 1898

Miss Mabel Lester has been engaged as librarian for the Odebolt public library. Miss Lester is thoroughly competent and we are confident she will give satisfaction.


Odebolt Chronicle, Vol. 12, No. 2, May 19, 1898

     The Odebolt library association has rented the rooms over Sampson's store for a period of two years beginning June 15. It is expected that the library will be opened by July 1 at the latest, and possibly by June 15. Miss Mabel Lester will be the librarian.
     Subscribers to the public library fund are requested to call on the secretary, Frank P. Motie, and get their certificates of stock.

(note:  William Sampson's store is the building later occupied by Krusenstjerna Hardware on the west side of Main Street in the business district.)


Odebolt Chronicle, Vol. 12, No. 5, June 9, 1898

The books for the Odebolt public library have been ordered, and the library will be open by July 1, perhaps before. The first lot ordered will include about 900 volumes.


Odebolt Chronicle, Vol. 12, No. 6, June 16, 1898

Elsewhere will be found the rules for the management of the Odebolt public library. The books will be here soon, and the library will probably be open to the public within the next two weeks.


The Chronicle. Vol. 16. No. 21. September 25, 1902.

The public library will be moved across the hall from its present location to the rooms formerly occupied by C. W. Lonnberg & Co. This will provide more room and will be more convenient. It is probably that the change will be made next week. One hundred and fifty new books have been purchased and will be here soon.


The Chronicle. Vol. 17. No. 46. March 17, 1904.
if Odebolt Will Furnish Site, He Will Donate This Amount for the Construction of Public Library.

Odebolt is to have a Carnegie library building. For the past three years an effort has been made to interest Mr. Carnegie in the matter of furnishing a building to house the excellent collection of 2,000 volumes which are now on the shelves of the town's free public library.

On last Saturday the following communication, addressed to the editor of THE CHRONICLE, was received from Mr. Carnegie's private secretary:

Responding to your communications on behalf of Odebolt: If the city agrees by resolution of council to maintain a free public library at a cost of not less than four hundred dollars per year and provide a suitable site for the building, Mr. Carnegie will be pleased to furnish four thousand dollars to erect a free public library building for Odebolt.

The matter will be brought before the town council at its next regular meeting. There is at present levied a two-mill tax for library purposes, but this does not provide the amount of money required by Mr. Carnegie. However, there is no doubt the funds will be provided and in the course of a few months Odebolt will be one of the few towns its size that can boast of having a Carnegie library.

The location of the building is of course yet to be determined.


The Chronicle Vol. 17. NO. 47. March 24, 1904.
Our New Library Building.

Eight years ago the Women's Reading Circle, an organization composed of 15 [16?] Odebolt women who organized for mental improvement, started a fund for a free public library. When they had accumulated about $200 they circulated a subscription list and issued stock, securing $1,400. Hon. W. W. Field headed the list with a generous contribution and many other citizens gave according to their means, and in 1898 the Odebolt Free Public library was organized. A year later Mr. Field added $500 to his donation, on condition that the town accept the library and maintain it. All the stockholders signed an agreement to transfer their stock to the town, and the citizens by vote accepted the proposition.

The income from the statutory two-mill tax has been sufficient for the expense of maintaining the library, which now consists of about 2,000 volumes. It has been felt, however, that if a permanent home could be provided for it and the items of rent, etc., eliminated, the number of books could be increased from year to year and worn out volumes replaced without calling on the citizens for additional donations. Moreover, it has been believed that if a handsome and convenient building were erected more interest would be taken by both young and old in its future, and that the number of readers would increase.

For the past four years the library trustees and several other citizens of the town have attempted to secure an appropriation from Andrew Carnegie, whose philanthropic efforts to provide reading matter for the masses are known throughout the world. Mr. Carnegie, however, made it a rule to refuse consideration of requests from towns of less than 5,000 population, and in only a few instances, where the applicants were his personal friends, did he make an exception. In consequence, requests from Odebolt were regularly consigned to the waste basket. The case seemed hopeless until a year ago, when a friend in Washington, whose name we are not now at liberty to publish, aided the editor of THE CHRONICLE to get a request before the great iron master's eye. But the stereotyped reply that Mr. Carnegie could not consider an application was returned, and a second application brought the response from his agent that Mr. Carnegie had gone to Europe and would not consider any requests of that nature until his return in the fall of 1903.

We watched the New York papers, and when we saw that the philanthropist had landed on American soil we again got into direct communication with him through our Washington friend. His reply was discouraging, but we held on; and three months after we had written our last letter to him came the reply which was printed in last week's CHRONICLE.

Mr. Carnegie will furnish $4,000 for a building, provided the town council will furnish a site and pass a resolution agreeing to supply $400 per year for the support of the library.

The site will be furnished without cost to the town. The council will pass the necessary resolution of support, the sum being practically the amount now realized from the two-mill levy; and in due season we shall have a beautiful building which should be the pride of every citizen.

We give this recital of the incidents which led up to the appropriation because they are matters of public interest. Nearly every person we have met in the last week has wanted to hear the story, and here it is.

Finally, we want to say that Odebolt would never have had a public library but for the women who conceived the idea and gave their efforts to the work of securing funds. To them is due the greatest measure of credit. Next come Mr. Field and other public spirited citizens, who made possible the establishment of the library. And finally, we never could have secured a building but for the generosity of the greatest philanthropist the world has ever known.

No town with as small a population as Odebolt has ever secured funds for a library building from Andrew Carnegie. Hence the donation is cause for more than usual rejoicing.


The Chronicle. Vol. 18. NO. 10. July 7, 1904.
The New Library Building.

The contract for erecting Odebolt's public library building will be let to John S. Ketterman of Ida Grove. Mr. Ketterman expects to complete the building within 90 days and will begin work soon. The plans were drawn by George W. Burkhead of Sioux City and provide for a beautiful and imposing structure. The front is 51 feet 4 inches, with a depth of 29 feet. The foundation is seven feet high, the ceiling 13 feet and the roof 13 feet from base to peak, making a total height of 33 feet. The foundation at the grade line is of coursing stone, surmounted by Boon blue paving brick, with a water table of Bedford stone. The walls are Lehigh cream pressed brick of the kind used in the Odebolt school building. The roof is of slate, with a half pitch. All the trimmings are of Bedford stone.

On the front is a beautiful portico, upheld by two pilasters and two round columns of Bedford stone, with two more pilasters at the entrance to the building. The steps leading up to the portico are of cement. The front, on each side of the portico, is ornamented with two pilasters made of moulded brick. The interior is in keeping with the outer design and will be beautifully finished. The building will be heated by a furnace and gas will be used for lighting.


The Chronicle. Vol. 18. No. 30. November 24, 1904.

Buy a library catalogue and aid in furnishing the new building. A new and complete catalogue has been issued and a copy is well worth a quarter. Apply to Mrs. E. P. Potteiger, the city librarian.

The Chronicle Vol. 18. No. 39. January 26, 1905

A severe penalty will be imposed on any person who defaces or intentionally damages a book belonging to the Odebolt public library. Do not mark or underline the printed matter or comment with pencil or pen on any page of a book. The books belong to the public, not to you; and if you do not agree with the view of the author, hire a hall or send a communication to THE CHRONICLE, instead of expressing your opinion in pencil on the margin of the volume. A fine covering twice the cost of the defaced volume and permanent exclusion from the library will be imposed on the next offender.


The Chronicle Vol. XXIV, No. 38, January 19, 1911.
Library Notes.

The children's chairs and tables have been received and are ready for the little folks. The children will find a lot of new books that will interest them, among which are many picture books and stories for the youngest readers, such as "Johnny Crow and His Garden," "Mother Hubbard," "Mother Goose Rhymes," "Brownie Picture Book," fairy stories and animal stories. Any child that can read and has the consent of his or her parents is entitled to borrow books from the library. Parents are invited to bring their children and look over the good things there are for the little folks as well as for the grown ups.

The library is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 3:00 to 5:30 and 7:00 to 9:00 and on Sundays from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.


THE ODEBOLT NEWS. Vol. 1, No. 3, March 26, 1914

     When the Public Library receives its next installment of new books a pay shelf will be started with a few of the latest volumes of popular fiction. The pay shelf is the latest method adopted in most libraries whereby the most popular fiction is rented for five cents a week. This money is then used for the purchase of more books for the pay shelf.
     As soon as a book has received enough money to pay for itself it is taken from the pay shelf and placed in the regular list of circulating books. By employing this method there will always be a few of the latest books of fiction in the library and those wishing to read them while they are new should be willing to pay.
     It is not deemed advisable to buy much of this popular fiction--which is in demand for such a short time--on any other basis when there are so [illegible].


THE ODEBOLT NEWS. Vol. 1, No. 4, April 2, 1914.

Odebolt Public Library.
Lillian E. Hanson, Librarian.
Open every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m.
Evenings from 7 to 9 except Sunday.
Books free to all city readers.


THE ODEBOLT NEWS, Vol. 1, No. 10, MAY 7, 1914.

The Public Library, with its new coat of paint and other interior improvements is now a very pleasing institution.

Miss Lillian Hanson put in a strenuous week at the library last week, where spring cleaning and redecorating have been the rule. She reports that interest in the library is all that is to be expected and an average of from thirty to forty books a day being taken out.

(Researched and transcribed by B. Ekse) 

Visit the Odebolt Library as it is today.

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