In a general city election in April, 1900, the proposition of a city library was voted upon favorably. A board of directors was appointed by the mayor in 1901 and the library was opened to the public on June 1, 1901 in an upstairs room at 436 Lincoln Street. Women’s Clubs continued to augment library funds and in 1902 and a room was secured in the basement of the Court House. Miss Harkness continued on as librarian and after her resignation, Miss Adelaide Story became the librarian.
During the years from 1902 to 1907, an auxialliary to the Library Club was formed and named “The Branch” to raise funds for a library building. The Helianthus Club also appointed a special committee to raise money for the building. A town meeting was held to discuss the possibility of establishing a Carnegie Library. Mrs. H.W. Underwood, from the Library Club, and Miss Effie Loader, from the Helianthus Club, were chosen to contact the Andrew Carnegie Foundation. They were encouraged in their application and received a promise of support from the foundation.
In an election on April 6, 1909, the establishment of a Carnegie Library was voted upon favorably. The present site was chosen and the deed secured by the city. The building and furnishings, excluding the books, cost $12,548.78, and of this Carnegie donated $10,000. The building was dedicated and opened to the public in 1912. Miss Nannie Reed was the first librarian and served until 1932.
During those early years, the library occupied the main floor; the upstairs rooms were available for meetings and as auditorium facilities. The south wing became the meeting place for the Library Club. The Clay Center Men’s Club leased the lower level for a nominal fee until 1974 when the expansion of the library warranted its use as library space. The main floor of the library was remodeled in 1967. In 1970 the north wing of the upstairs was furnished as a children’s library. It housed an expanding collection and a young people’s classic book collection, a bequest from the Sue V. Hemphill estate.
A devastating tornado swept through Clay Center in September of 1973, damaging the library building. The building was repaired and work had immediately begun on the lower level to create a spacious children’s library and program room. An all-weather parking lot east of the library was paved in 1976. Disabled persons accessibility was the main thrust of remodeling in 1983. Both a chair lift and an elevator were installed. New equipment purchased in 1988 was a personal computer unit which stores the Kansas Library Catalog. In October of 2000 the children’s library was remodeled. This included painting the walls, new carpet, and a new arrangement of the shelves, books, and desks. The entire library received a new look in 2012 when all the walls were painted. In 2013, new carpet was installed throughout the whole building. In the last months of December, new LED lighting was installed on the top floor. In the first few months of 2014, LED lighting was installed in the basement and the main floor.
The Clay Center Carnegie Library is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a nomination that provides recognition of the community’s historic importance. The library is also a member of the North Central Kansas Libraries regional system.
Clay Center Carnegie Library Staff
For security, we have left off part of our email address. The following email addresses end with @cckslibrary.org
Shanda Cramer, Director, Email: director
Pixie Knepper, Children’s Librarian, Email: kidslib
Janet Legg, Library Clerk/ILL Librarian, Email: ccill
Kim Riffel, Library Clerk, Email: clerklib
Shelley Shivers, Library Clerk, Email: catalogclerk
Marty Hedman, Custodian, Email: custodian
Kasi Oberhelman, High School Clerk, Email: studentpage
Board of Trustees of the Clay Center Carnegie Library
The Library Board meets at 4:30 p.m. on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, except for the months of August and December.
All public library board meetings are subject to the Kansas Open Meeting Act (K.S.A. 75-4317).
Deanna Barleen-Vice President
Susan Melton-Trustee-Friends of the Library Rep.