Bloomfield 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.

In the year 1911 there was a revival of civic spirit in Bloomfield.  Some of the club women and the Commercial club came forth with the suggestion that a gift for a public library could be secured from Andrew Carnegie.  The matter was brought before the mayor, H. C. Leach, who contacted Carnegie's secretary.  The reply was that Mr. Carnegie would give $10,000 to erect a public library if the city would agree by resolution of the city council to maintain a free public library and would provide a suitable site for the building.

An election was held December 30, 1911.  The proposition carried by a 291 majority of the total 856 votes cast.  A big bonfire was kindled in front of the H. A. Wishard store and a lively celebration was held.

The library building site northwest of the square was bought from J. W. Rawlings for $1,500.  The plans were submitted by Wetherel and Gage, Des Moines architects.  C. W. Ennis was awarded the contract to build the library.

The building is cottage architecture, built of tapestry brick with Bedford stone trimming.  It has timbered gables and red tile roof and is set among trees and shrubs.  The word "library" is cut in a stone panel over the front door.  Beside the door is a bronze tablet with the inscription "Let There Be Light."  "This library, the gift of Andrew Carnegie, August, 1913.

During World wars I and II, the club rooms were used as Red Cross headquarter for sewing,knitting etc.

A dedication of the library was held August 8, 1913, at the Methodist Church, after which the public was invited to inspect the new building.

Mrs. Mary Hamilton Hinkle was the first librarian.  She immediately began a canvass of the town to collect good books to fill the shelves.  There were 1,216 books acquired that summer.  As of December, 1957, there were 8,380 books classified as adult and 4,208 juvenile for a total of 12,586.  About 50 periodicals were supplied by the library.

Mrs. Hinkle served as librarian for 19 years.  Miss Florence Botts became the second librarian in1932.  She served 24 years, resigning in 1956 to become a member of the high school faculty.

Mrs. John C. Sager assumed her position in September of 1956.

There are scrapbooks with the plans, correspondence  at the library.