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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.

In 1923 the Woman’s Club had a program entitled “Possibilities for a Library in Conrad.”  Though the time was not right, the dream was kept alive and finally became a reality when the Library officially opened its doors on April 13, 1937.  It was originally called the Woman’s Club Library.

The library, located in a room adjoining, Dr. Gould’s office above the tavern, was furnished from the attics and homes of club members.  Community residents generously donated books to the collection and the library entered into a contract with the Grundy Center Library to supply a rotating collection of books for a fee of $5 a year.

A $100 grant from the Tuberculosis Association (books were important for the “mental health” of the community’s people) provided the money for books and supplies that first year.  Memberships were sold for $1 per year; these offered families the use of the library every Saturday afternoon.

The original Woman’s Club Library Committee found it their responsibility to staff, and stock the shelves of the library.  For at least the first year volunteers served as librarians.  Then through a W.P.A. program, the library hired its first librarian, Phyllis Hendershot.

In 1940 the Woman’s Club petitioned the City Council to take over the operation of the library.  Thus, by city ordinance May 6, 1940, the library became the Conrad Public Library, a tax-supported institution.

Conrad Public Library’s years of service have been characterized by change and growth.  From its location above the tavern, the library moved, in 1947, to the council chambers of the old Town Hall where it remained until 1954.  After being temporarily housed in the American Legion Post rooms during construction of a new City Hall, the library found its home in one room of the city council’s new quarters.  In 1969 the library took over the portion of the building that had been occupied by city offices.  The additional 900 square feet, which had housed the city clerk’s office and council chambers, now holds the library’s extensive genealogy collection.