About Us

Lakota Public Library  History
Built in the 1930ís  with federal funds and WPA men to do the labor

            It was 1920  and the Ladies Acorn Study Club needed a place to house their books.  Ten ladies got together and the result was a  library.
              After  forming the Red Cross Library Association, the Red Cross Library officially  opened in January of 1921.  The library  was open from 2:30-4:30 p.m.  on Saturday afternoons.  A 5-cent fine  was charged for late books.
              In 1926 the  library was changed to the Seymour Library in honor of Mrs. Addie Seymour, who  donated the building in 1922 to use as a library.  For many years no aid was received to operate  the library; instead, membersí dues (of $1.00), teas and suppers held several  times a year, and donations by interested patrons kept the facility  functioning.
              In 1927 a janitor was hired at  the cost of 25 cents per Saturday.  In  1928 Rose Rahmstock was hired at a rate of 50 cents per week for starting fires  (in the coal furnace!).
              In 1933,  the first board members were elected. 
              In 1937,  the library board decided to ask the town to levy a tax for the library.  The library board certified to the council  their estimated budget of expenditures and it was included in the regular town  budget.
              In 1940,  the library hours were changed to Wednesday from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.  and Saturday from 8:30 to 10:00 p.m.  The librarian was paid $1.00 per week.  During September the library was closed so  that books could be repaired and then moved to the new City Hall.
              On October 5, 1940 the Lakota Public  Library was first opened to the public in its new location in the City Hall  building.  The librarianís wages were  then 25 cents an hour.
              Starting in  1941, the Seymour  building was rented out for $110 per year.   In 1948 sale of the old building was discussed and in 1949 Mr. I. E.  Wortman bought the property for $1000.   The town gave the money to the library and a $1,000 bond was purchased  for the library.
              In 1963 a childrenís area was  added to the library.
              Down  through the years both the Acorn Club and the Garden Club have actively  supported the library, as well as many dedicated long-time residents.
              The library  made one more major move:  In 1980,  cooperative efforts between the Lakota City Council and the Library Board  resulted in a switch of locations to provide ample space for both.  The council moved temporarily to another  downtown building for their chambers.   The old city jail on the east side of the building was taken out, adding  still more room for the new library facility.
              Al Johnson,  Jr. of Lakota had the contract to remodel the south side of the cement building  which was originally constructed in the 1930ís with federal funds and WPA men  to do the labor.  It is not doubted that  the building was put up to last forever, with its all cement and steel rod  walls, both inside and out.
              The  remodeling was financed through $4,000 from the City of Lakota, a $10,000 grant from the  Kinney-Lindstrom Foundation, a $500 donation from the Hanson Family Foundation,  a $250 donation from the Lakota Garden Club, and a $1,000 gift from Mrs. Art  Schissel.
              All the  bookshelves and woodworking were done by Keith Hertzkeís Construction of  Fairmont.  Many volunteers contributed  time and labor in the finishing of the library.   Shelving from the old library site was used in the childrenís department  and painted in bright colors.
              On May 9, 1981, the newly  remodeled Public Library was officially opened.   A big Open House was held with ribbon-cutting ceremony and important  guests in attendance.
              On September 24, 2000, we  celebrated our 80th anniversary of the establishment of the Lakota  Public Library by sponsoring a salad luncheon and open house for the community.  This event highlighted the  recent State of Iowa  accreditation of the library and to share with the public the new improvements  that included beautiful redecorating, carpet and painting. Improvements to the  bathroom facilities were also done to comply with the American for Disabilities  Act.     The salad luncheon now has  become an annual fundraising event. We currently have three public access  computers and a computer automated checkout system.
              Current  Library Director, Susan Kearney, has been the librarian since February 1998.
              Current  Library Board members are:  Janet  Chambers, president; Gwen Good, vice president; Wanda Goetz, secretary; Sharon Price, Melissa Hillesland members.
              Sue Griese  serves as treasurer for the library.
              The library  was started to serve the community and through the many years that continues to  be our goal.  Volunteers and donations  have allowed the library to conduct a full service to our patrons and be a  vital part of Lakota.

204 3rd Street Lakota, IA 50451  |  Phone: 515-886-2312
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