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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.

The Shellsburg Public Library opened its doors on September 19, 1970. Vista Volunteers, Mrs. Joe Clendenin and Paul Meeks and several Shellsburg citizens donated money, time and energy in an effort to establish a public library for all the residents of Shellsburg. Vista and citizens of Shellsburg donated books and the state gave $500.00 worth of reference books. The library joined the Seven Rivers State Traveling Library.

To begin, there were volunteer librarians who kept the doors open and helped make the new library a success. Volunteer librarians were: Mrs. Douglas Mortenson, Mrs. Harold Duncalf, Mrs. Earl Beatty, Mrs. Glenn McClintock, Mrs. Robert Bull, Mrs. Ray Boyer, Mrs. Louis Gardemann, Mrs. Suzanne Beatty, Mrs. Richard Harvey, Mrs. Ronald Charlier, Mrs. Marvin Bergen, Mrs. Howard Gillis, Mrs. Richard Wallerick, Mrs. Terry Kyle, Mrs. Frances Clendenin, Mrs. Don Graham, Mrs. Thelma Losee, and Miss Susan Coy. The volunteers made the library more attractive by furnishing pictures, making curtains and providing plants and light fixtures. They also sponsored benefit card parties to earn money for children's books.

The Shellsburg Public Library has occupied three different buildings since it first started. The first library started in the City Hall. In November of 1973 the library moved to the building purchased by the Shellsburg Lions Club, 113 Pearl Street S.E. The Lions allowed the library to use the building free of charge. They installed a new furnace, rewired the building, installed new windows, door and front. The Shellsburg Sorosis Club held a bazaar each fall and helped the library with new carpet, paint and books. The library was open 20 hours per week and the librarian was Suzanne Beatty and the Assistant Librarian was Dorothy Montgomery. The librarian provided free pick-up and delivery service for senior citizens that could not come to the library. National Library Week was celebrated every spring with an open house and/or art show. After twenty years as librarian Suzanne Beatty retired in September of 1990 and Dorothy Montgomery retired as well. Becky Robinson was hired as the librarian.

The Shellsburg Public Library broke ground in April of 1992 at its present day location of 110 Main Street and the books and furnishings were moved into the buildings with the help of the elementary school children in December of 1992. The building consists of two portable buildings owned previously by the school district. They were donated to the library with the only cost being the cost of having them moved from Vinton to Shellsburg.The building has a basement and an addition was added to the portable buildings to make it uniform in size. This building was made possible by the fund raising efforts of the Shellsburg Friends of the Library. Co-chairmen of the fund raising efforts were Martha Travis and Karolynn Roehr. The generosity of many residents, businesses, organizations, and people from the surrounding area allowed this money to be raised in less than one year. Also, many area residents volunteered their labor for the building rpoject. This project would not have been possible without all of the help.

Becky Robinson was the librarian until 1997 when Christa Osborn was hired as librarian. Anna Marie Kibbie became librarian in July of 1998 and held that position for five years. Shery Nieland was hired in July of 2002 as librarian.

The first board consisted of Frances Clendenin, President; Dale Jensen, Marlyn White, Paul Meeks,Thelma Losee, Evelyn Tumilty, and Dorothy Beatty. Other members of the commmunity who served on the board were: Opal Beatty, Charlene Beatty, Evelyn Mealhow, Dale Lint, Del Keith, Leo Landy, Rhonda McClintock, Bernard McIlrath, Earl Maxson, Bill Brauman, and Norman McClintock. The board in 1954 was Evelyn Tumilty, President; Reuben Senft, Leona Yates, Helen Yakish, Inez Imler, Don Graham, and Sandra Beatty. There have been many people over the years who have sereved as board members. The library could not survive without all of the efforts of these various people. The library trustee board is made up of five resident members of the city and two non-resident members of the county.

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.