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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.

History of the Tripoli Public Library

 

Until the start of the Tripoli Public library, the only library service available to Tripoli residents was through a library located in the Tripoli High School. The library was created by the Tripoli Federated Woman’s Club in 1937 and was used by students during the school day, but was also open to the public from 3:00-5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. In June of 1951, the club turned the library over to the school.

The Tripoli Public Library had it’s official opening day on October 27, 1951. It was located in the new Tripoli Town Hall, which had been dedicated in June, 1951.

The first library board members – Delpha Frese, Rudolph Piegers, Elinor Block, Mildred Ambrose and Robert Kuhrt made the following policies during their first meetings. The charge for a family membership card was $2.00, the fine for an overdue book was set at $0.02 a day (this has remained unchanged for 34 years), one book per person was allowed until the collection had grown sufficiently. The board requested a 1 ½ mill tax levy for the city to operate the library. Mrs. O.D. Trudo was hired as the first librarian, with her wage being set at $1.25 per hour. The library was open eight hours a week.

In 1952, Elinor Block was appointed librarian and continued in that capacity until July, 1978.

The library became a member of the Eastern Iowa Library Association in 1960 and through cooperative buying was able to greatly increase the book selection.

Library space was increased in 1961 when an adjoining store room was converted into a reference and reading room. Book shelves and reading tables were added, along with a considerable amount of remodeling. Book stock increased by 4,300 from 1951 through 1961. The circulation had gone from 1,200 in 1951 to 12,000 in 1960.

By 1966, the book shelves were filled to capacity and it was evident that the library needed additional space. The library board began looking for a building site for construction of a new library. Four different sites were considered but after much discussion it was decided to purchase the H.H. Neverman property for $6,000.00. The estimated cost of the proposed 2,080 square foot library was $58,000.00. This was reduced by $10,000 after receiving a grant from the Kinney-Lindstrom Foundation of Mason City. The Tripoli Council pledged $11,300 from available monies in the town treasury, leaving $37,000 to be raised through a bond issue, which was approved by the voters in November, 1967.

Mr. Herman Bany, a former resident of Tripoli, established a memorial fund in 1969 in memory of his parents, Bertha and William Bany. This is supported annually by a bequest in his deed of trust.

The library receives tax money each year from the county. The amount is based on a percentage formula that was agreed upon by the seven libraries in the county. This money makes it possible for us to provide full library service to all Bremer County residents. The town, Frederika, contracts with the Tripoli Library to provide library service for their residents.

Services offered to our patrons in addition to books, include computers and Internet access, a choice of 60 magazines, books on tape, DVDs, over 1200 videos, cake pans, puppets, and puzzles. We have continued to grow and expand. Our library now houses over 15,000 volumes.

On average, 1200 people enter the library each month. We continue to offer our weekly pre-school story time. The library has an active volunteer group. In 2001, our library expanded our present building with an addition. We now offer building space of 4,500 square feet which is handicapped accessible. Our library has also increased the artifact and art displays and we allow space for special programming, which will encourage lifelong learning and benefit all ages in our community.