Letts Public Library

Personal tools

You are here: Home / Library Information / History / Library History

Library History

Read how this library was established and how it has evolved to become such an important part of our community.


    The first meeting of the Letts Public Library occurred on May 28, 1910.
Many names are linked with the founding of the library but according to several record books,two women led the way :Rose Dalton Pollock and Jetta Shellabarger Turkington
    The first library, called the Letts Reading and Rest Room, occupied space above the Curtis Barber Shop. After completing their shopping the ladies came here to rest and wait, while their husband tended to  business matters.
    Needing more room, The library  rented Mrs. O.H.P. Linn's hall over Gipple Drug Store in 1911. Sometime in September of 1912, a committee formed to find more ecomonical quarters and soon purchase, moved and repaired a house. The new library opened for business January 1, 1913.   
    In 1916, a general consensus decided the library should be nearer the business district.But this did not happen until September of 1939, when two rooms in the bank building were refinished to be used  for the library. After a fire greatly damaged books and other contents on Novermber 15, 1943, In 1946, the town sold the bank building  and purchased the Elison building, the present location of the library. In need of repairs, citizens of Letts again rallied, donating work and materials. Finally on Oct 17, 1947 the library was formally opened.
Many changes have been made since: a dividing wall was removed, carpet, a new suspended ceiling installed, roof repaired,shelving added. The library acquired space for work, storage, and board meeting after cutting a door into wall of the adjoining building former .    
   The library added handicap accessiblility in 1993, with ramps on the corner where the post office is located and at the library entrance. Inside they widened doors, installed special door knobs, and moved objects, such as the card catalog and magazine racks, to facilitate wheelchairs. 
State Accreditation occurred in June 1994.

Areas  qualifying the library included governance, administration ,funding, staffing, collection, services, public relations, and accessiblity. 

    In February 1995,remodeling of the work room created a special area for children with a youth sized picnic table and toy box filled with puzzles, puppets and coloring books(colors and markers given with supervision). A TV/VCR entertains small minds with an assortment of slect children's movies.
    With the steady push of technology, the library installed the first computer and
printer  in 1994. In 1997 we were able to have internet access. Present day we have 9 public access computers all networked to the internet, plus Librarian's computer is connected also. November 2002 the library was connected to the internet by satelite, which makes the connection faster.  Special thanks to the Gates Foundation we were given 2 new computers for public use and a new content servicer, which we will use for check-out. November 2003, we purchased the rest of the automation software. Iowa Telecom brought DSL to Letts in Fall of 2004 which made the internet connection cheaper and even faster than the satelite. Hopefully in 2007we will be have automation completed. Major chances came to Letts in spring of 2010, with the City getting a I-Jobs grant and we broke ground on May 19, 2010 for our new Library and Community Building. Grand opening was Dec 10, 2010.

Interested in more history? Check out Iowa Historical Society.

This resource is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by State Library of Iowa.