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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 following is an excerpt from the Tipton Conservative.

Tipton Library has a Long Interesting History

by Krista Clark

The Tipton Public Library has a long and interesting history, extending back to the middle of the 19th century.

According to "Cedar Land, 1836-1980," by Don and Dorothy Stout, the first attempt to establish a library in Tipton was made by the Tipton Library Association, formed in March 1859.  By 1877 there were 40 members of this organization, which was overseen by a board of directors.  By 1878 the name "Tipton Public Library" had formally emerged and diligent efforts were made over the next 22 years to gain support for a permanent home for the library.

By 1900 a library tax proposal was successful and , with the $500 raised, 600 books were purchased for the library.

In March 1901, after a lot of work and diligent effort on the part of many Tipton residents, what was then called the "Tipton Free Library" was formally opened in the Rowell building on Cedar Street.

In January 1902 the library trustees began soliciting funds to purchase a site for a new library and, led by the Tipton Woman's Club, fundraising began in earnest for the new structure.

Judge Treichler, a prominent Tipton citizen who was then president of the library board of turstees, had contacted the Andrew Carnegie foundation requesting funds for a public library in Tipton.

Mr. Carnegie's private secretary, wrote to Treichler on January 9, 1902: "If the City of Tipton will pledge itself to support a free library (by resolution of the council) at a cost of not less than $1,000 per year, Mr. Carnegie will be glad to provide $10,000 for a free public library building.  The city must also furnish a site."

The city council immediately passed the resolution and Mr. Carnegie was notified that his conditions had been accepted.

The conerstone of the Tipton Public Library was set on May 3, 1903.  The minutes from the board meeting that day reveal that the following items were place in the cornerstone:  A Bible, the constitution of the STate of Iowa, the constitution and by-laws of the Woman's Club, a copy of Andrew Carnegie's letter and acceptance, several newspapers and coins from 1902 and 1903.

The library was completed and occupied in December 1903.  The cost of the structure was $13, 158.53, excluding furnishings.  The Woman's Club purchased the furniture.

The next big event in the history of the Tipton Public Library occurred in 1976 was Tipton native and Chicago attorney Roger Leech died, leaving a bequest of $212,000 to the library.

The Leech funds were invested and in 1985 formal plans were unveiled for a large addition to be built onto the east side of the  Carnegie structure.

The new addition to the Tipton Public Library, which nearly doubled its size, was dedicated on July 10, 1988, with approximately 450 people in attendance.

In order to provide additional support to the library, the Friends of the Tipton Public Library was organized in 1989.  Friends raise funds for the library through ongoing book sales in the library and at special events.

Other activities include decorating both interior and exterior of the building thoughout the year; providing refreshments and assisting at various library programs, helping with the purchase of equipment for the library and providing financial support for the summer reading program and other library activities.

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