Central City Public Library

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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.

Mr. and Mrs. John C. Clegg had come to Central City for several summers to attend to real estate investments in the area.  They would spend a week at a local hotel and get acquainted with some of the town people.  They encouraged the founding of a library, and in 1891 the Cleggs sent books here.  These books were the initial library.  They were placed in a case in Dr. Fisher's building (the old telephone building) in a room occupied by B.P. Holden.  A library board was organized.  Susie Heaton became the librarian.  The library was open on Saturdays from 2:00-4:00pm and from 7:00-9:00pm.

In 1895, the town councilheld an election for Ordinance Number 19, which would provide a tax levy of one-half mil to support the library.  At that time women were allowed to vote on any matter concerning taxes on property, and they were encouraged to vote on this ordinance.  Twenty-five women voted, but it is interesting to note that the ordinance would have been approved without their vote. 

In the new organization, Dr. Woodbridge was the president of the library board of trustees.  Pliny W. Sawyer offered to supply a room in his house for a library and to take charge of the books for $36 a year.  His offer was accepted.  Later the library was moved into other buildings.  In 1900, Mrs. W.A. Leslie was hired as a librarian at a salary of $52 a year.  Other libarians include C.B. Warner, Mary Crane (Mrs. L.K. Hatch), Mrs. Howard Bliss, Fannie Porter, Olive Toms (Mrs. John Drexler), Mrs. Lynn Strait, Mrs. Frank Jennison, Mrs. L.J. Reed, Mrs. Orin Crane, Mrs. F.S. Phillips, Phyllis Phelps Phillips (Mrs. E.L. Baxter), Mrs. William Edgerly, Joan Enabnit, Marie Henderson, Alice Michels, JoAnn Beasley, Lois Shoop, Dana Richards, Elizabeth Henderson, and Denise Levenhagen.  Long time assistants have included Bernita Gollobit, Mary Dannenbrink, Nelda Knowlton and Judy Murray. 

John C. Clegg died in 1901 leaving a bequest to the library.  In 1906 chairs were bought for the reading room.  Other improvements were gradually made.  When Mr. Clegg's estate was settled in 1915, the money received was sufficient to provide for the brick building put up in 1916 by contractor Paul Sigmund.  The lot was given by P.G. Henderson.  A granddaughter of Mr. Clegg's, Mrs. Harry Gallagher of New York, sent more books and offered to pay for a sign for the library.  L.K. Hatch made the letters for the sign.  This building was the library's quarters until it was turned over to the Central City Historical Society in 1987.

In 1986 plans were being made to build a new civic center.  At this time the library was in need of more space and easy accessibility for the elderly and handicapped.  It was decided to include the library in the plans for the Falcon Civic Center.  In August of 1987 the library moved into its new home.  The floor space was increased by 800 square feet to 1,324 square feet.  The City of Central City is responsible for the library.  A board of nine members, citizens of the area who give their services for the good of the reading public, acts as a governing body. 

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Central City Public Library
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.