Dorothy Fuehrer, known as the “book lady,” delivered library books to the elderly and shut-ins as part of the Imperial library’s history. (Courtesy photo)
Lied Imperial Public Library has undergone a number of changes in its history. The first structure at the corner of West 7th and Broadway Sts., was dedicated in 1931. (Courtesy photo)
Imperial library nears 90th birthday; celebrate with cake, ice cream next week
Imperial’s first library officially opened July 23, 1927 in a room downtown. Cake and ice cream were served to celebrate the opening.
The staff and board of the Lied Imperial Public Library will again serve cake and ice cream June 21 from 3 to 6 p.m. to celebrate 90 years of service to the community. Please join us.
The library was established by three women who met in the Chase County Courthouse in April 1927. By-laws and a record of business were recorded.
The first president was Mrs. Clyde (Alma) Anderson, Vice-President Mrs. W.J. (Martha) Mohr and Secretary Mary E. Eskew (who later married Jesse Nothnagel). Mrs. Duke (Margaret) Bennison served on the board, and was also librarian. By February 1928, the library had 603 books.
To support the facility the library board met with the town board in 1929 to request a mill levy, which was granted.
In September 1929, the Kilpatrick Brothers, R.J. being the originator, offered to donate funds to build a library if the people raised the money for the furnishings. The library was to be a memorial to his wife.
Later it was changed to a memorial of the entire Kilpatrick family. A brick building, The Kilpatrick Memorial Library, was built on the site where the library stands today.
The building was ready for occupancy in October 1930. The dedication was held in 1931.
Norma Heebner was the librarian from 1930-1946, Mrs. John Kilpatrick and Shirley Wiley served mid-century. The longest-serving librarian was Elnor Brown from 1967-1995. Norma Dannatt and Jan Sears followed, with Beth Falla taking the helm in 2005.
The first children’s story hour was held in July 1931. Mrs. E.M. (Helen) Rouze was one of the original “storytellers.”
During the 1970s, the Mrs. Jaycees sponsored story hour, puppet shows and a migrant program for the “little tots.”
At that time, a project to make books available to the elderly and shut-ins was sponsored by the Rotary Club and the Jaycees. The “book lady,” Dorothy Fuehrer, delivered books in the library van.
By 1966, plans began to enlarge the library. In 1969, an addition to the north, with a stucco exterior, was completed and a dedication was held.
More space was needed for the growing number of books and new services, so in 1989 talk of an addition began in earnest.
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