History of the Library

History of the Lincoln Carnegie Library

The "city fathers" maintained the first Library with most of the revenue generated from the local dog tax. Each family paid $1.00 to use the Library. On March 15, 1988, the Lincoln Library Association was formed. Annual dues were $1.00. The books were placed at first in a millinery store, and then moved periodically to various locations including a bookstore and a drugstore. Stockholders owned the library. In 1897 the books and property were turned over to the city and it became a public city library in 1899. An election was held in 1903 to establish a library tax.

On February 13, 1913, voters approved a .4 mill levy for establishing a library. Lincoln applied to the Carnegie Foundation and was offered $6,000 with the stipulation that the city would provide $600 annually for library maintenance. Voters passed the latter by a count of 424 for, 166 against. The Christian Science Church donated the site located at the corner of Third and Court Streets. After approval by the Carnegie Corporation, plans were finalized and bids were advertised in August 1913. The contract was awarded to the firm of Wilson & Gilbert, of Hoxie and Plainville, for $5,770.00. The first library board was appointed January 29, 1914. On May 5, 1914, the Social Science Club hosted a reception and on May 6 at 3:00 the library was opened to the public. Hours were 3 to 6 daily and 7 to 9 on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings. The basement featured a kitchen and dining room. Persons living within one mile had free usage of the library; others paid $1.00 per year or 10 cents per book.

The library underwent extensive remodeling in 1970. Central heating and cooling systems were installed, the lofty ceilings were lowered, carpeting and new blinds were put in, and new light fixtures were also installed. In 1978, the basement was improved by the addition of carpeting, new lights, shelving and special equipment. In April 1979, it was opened as a children's library.

In April, 2008 construction started on an addition to the Library. The addition features an elevator, reading room and Kansas/Lincoln County room. The original building was also renovated. The children's department was moved upstairs and the old children's department was turned into a meeting room. Construction was completed in May, 2009.

Mary Rathbun 1903-1914
Mrs. Albert Orr 1914-1917
Nellie Hawkins 1917-1921
Mrs. L. W. Wait 1921-1939
Doreen Payne 1939-1941
Pearl Metz 1941-1942
Alice Ryan 1942-1976
Ailene Bowie 1976-1978
Ellen Searles 1978-1982
Sylvia Ortiz 1982-1984
Pat Florence 1984-1988
Connie Budreau 1988-2001
Nancy Jensen 2001-Present

Shirley Wing 1978-1980
Evelyn Bolte 1980-1989
Lisa Von Fange 1989-1992
Bev Nelson 1992-1993
Lisa Von Fange 1993-1997
Debbie Kohrs 1997-2001
Shirley Kenyon 2001-2002
Pat Florence 2002-2003
Tammy Voeltz 2003-2007
Lynette Gross 2007-2012
Crystal Wanker 2012-2013
Mary Andersen 2013-Present