- The First Seventy-five Years in the Sanborn Community (1878-1953) -
Twentieth Century Club Starts Library
The present Carnegie Public Library is the direct outgrowth of the work of the Twentieth Century Club, who started the library in 1901. The library was started with fifty books, a gift from citizens who were entertained at a free-will book offering social at the home of Mrs. M.M. Burns. A space for housing the books was rented from Armstrong & Algyer for a rental of $30 a year. Later it was moved to the Arthur Lucas jewelry store. Club members were assigned turns to care for the library, and it was conducted in this manner for two years.
The city took over the support and operation of the library May 1, 1903, and a paid librarian was put in charge. The number of books had grown so in the two years that a larger space was needed, and a deal was made with the Opera House company whereby the library received free use of a room at the front of the building and this was used until the completion of the new Carnegie building in 1911.
The first Library Board was named by Mayor J.A. Wilcox and included Mrs. M.M. Burns, Mame Johnson, Morton Wilber, Mrs. R.D. McMillen, Mrs. Arthur Lucas, Dr. F.E. Brown, Mrs. J.H. Daly, E.M. Brady, and Mrs. J.A. Johnson. From this number Mrs. Burns was named president, and continued in that position for the next 45 years, until her retirement from the board in 1948.
The library was but a few years old, when Mrs. Burns wrote to Andrew Carnegie, the philanthropist, seeking money for a new building for the fast growing library. Following several letters and several years of elapsed time, her letter was answered on March 29, 1911, by Jas. Bertham, secretary to Mr. Carnegie, offering a sum of $4,000 for erection of a new building, provided the town would provide a site and guarantee a sum of at least $400 annually to maintain the library. A building committee composed of J.H. Daly, treasurer, Julius F. Kerberg and Mrs. Burns, board president, was named and they purchased lots 7 and 8, block 5, Stocum & Lawlerís second addition, from the school district, and late that year a contract was signed with A.J. King & Son, contractors of Mitchell, S.D., for the erection of the present building, which was completed at a total cost of $4,361.55, with the full $4,000 received from Mr. Carnegie.
Seven different librarians have been in charge during the fifty years the town has been in charge. The first one was Miss Mame Johnson, (sister of Frank Johnson) who served until her death in 1905 for the princely sum of $50 per year. Miss Zaidee McCullow then took over for a year and was followed by Miss Helen Foote (Ott). A year later Miss Hannah Johnson (another sister of Frank) took over and served almost two years to be replaced by Miss Marguerite Kings (Brady). By this time the salary was up to $100 a year. In October, 1909, Miss Irene McNeill took over and continued until 1918, when she resigned to work in Washington D.C. Miss Zaidee McCullow again took over the librarianís post, and is still carrying on in that position after 35 years of continuous service. The pay for this service was gradually upped, until today the librarianís salary is $50 per month.
Original plans called for the library to be open to the public a total of seven hours a week: from 3 to 5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Saturdays, and from 7 to 8 Saturday evenings. These hours have been continued ever since, with the addition of another hour on Saturday evenings started a number of years ago, and two years ago a 7 to 9p.m. open period on Wednesday evenings was added for the convenience of those who must work during the day throughout the week.
Of the original board, only three are still living: Mrs. M.M. Burns, Mrs. R.D. McMillen, now of Chicago, and Mrs. Arthur Lucas, of Arnolds Park. Others who have followed as members include Mrs. Craig Wilson, J.F. Kerberg, Mrs. Gene Tangney, Miss Zaidee McCullow, Miss Eva Brady, Dr. F.W. Horton, Mrs. Henry Kissler, J.A. Wilcox, Mrs. F.W. Horton, J.H. Daly, Mrs. C.S. Cornell, Mrs. E.C. Sprague, Mrs. Earl Mayne, Mrs. Henry Enenbach, Ira Soop, Mrs. Dora Flint, Mrs. Edith Killam, Mrs. Alta Foval, Miss Erma Boyd, Mrs. R.C. Sawyer, Henry Kissler, Jake Andringa, Mrs. Eva Stevens, C.S. Norland, Mrs. R.H. Penning and Harry Moses. Madge Powers, John Vande Berg, Celia Spykerman, Hazel Porth, Wilbur Smith Mrs. Marguerite Brady.
The present Board of Trustees has seven members, though originally there were nine. In 1948 the council revised and modernized their book of ordinances and after the revised versions had been passed by the council and signed by the mayor, it was discovered that the ordinance dealing with the library called for a board of but seven members. To make the size of the board comply with the ordinance, the entire board tendered their resignations to Mayor R.H. Leonard and asked him to name a new 7-member board, designating the length of the term of each. John Vande Berg and Mrs. Celia Spykerman were named to terms of each; Jake Andringa and Miss Zaidee McCullow to four year terms, and Mrs. Madge Powers, Mrs. R.H. Penning succeeding terms to be for six years. Mrs. Edith Burns was also named to a life honorary membership on the Board in recognition of her many years of work on the board and fruitful service toward the establishing and development of our present library.
Mrs. Spykerman and Miss McCullow were named to succeed themselves; Mrs Porth succeeded John Vande Berg and Wilbur Smith took Jake Andringaís place. As Mrs. Powers recently moved to Sioux City, Mrs. Pearle Britton was named to fill out her term.
At the present time, Mrs. Penning is president of the board, Wilbur Smith, vice president, and Harry Moses, secretary. The board meets the first Saturday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the library to authorize bills and conduct necessary business.
The library is conducted on a budget of $1700 annually at the present time. Of this over half goes for labor. New books of all types are being added constantly with old and worn ones retired to make room for them. Approximately $300 is spent each year for new books with another $100 for magazines and periodicals. Within the last few years, a new walk was laid in front of the building, a hand rail placed at the front entrance, and last year the interior was re-decorated.
Sanborn now has a library to which they can point with pride, a source of education and enjoyment freely available to all. We owe a debt of deep gratitude to those early members of the Twentieth Century Club for their initiative and drive in establishing what is now one of Sanbornís better assets.
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