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Eddyville Public Library
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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 History of our Library

While Eddyville was very young, around 1849, the following group of citizens started the formation of the society known as the "Mutual Institute". 

  • Homer D. Ives (lawyer)
  • Rev. M. Hitchcock (Congregational minister)
  • Dr. Fish (doctor)
  • R.W. Boyd (businessman)
  • W.H. Dunlap (businessman)
  • Walter Clement (businessman)
  • Harry Williams (businessman)
  • William Allison (businessman)
  • Robert Cole (businessman)
  • W.H. Cross (businessman)

The "Mutual Institute" was established as a way to improve upon scientific and literary subjects.  A number of books were collected, but the society went out of existence around 1856, and the books were scattered.

In the late 1880s, the young people of the Congregational Church felt the need for sharing books and reading material so they started a loan library.  In addition to contributing their own books, they accepted gifts from friends and raised money to buy books. They took turns serving as librarians.  After many years, the young ladies became homemakers and could no longer give the time needed for the popular growing library.

In 1896, a group of town women who realized the value of a library, put forth an effort to revive interest in a public library.  On January 9, 1897, the Eddyville Library Association was organized.  The city officers were urged to undertake maintaining a library.  A room in the city hall building was designated for the library.  The books from the Congregational Church loan library made a nice start for the library collection.  A tax was soon levied for its maintenance and future growth.

The years to follow at the one room library proved that the community did its best to preserve its cherished institution.  The library survived the big floods of 1903 and 1947 with minimal loss.  Eventually the library collection started to outgrow its one room home at city hall. 

In 1995, the library moved one block south of city hall into the newly built "Akers Memorial Library'.  Mr. Fred Akers, formerly from the Eddyville area, gave the city the funds to build a new public library in memory of his parents, Joseph and Adella Akers.

 

If you are interested in more history, visit the Iowa Historical Society.