Bushnell Public Library History
The roots of today library go back to 1896 when members of the Woman's Club pooled their respective book collections at one member's home for all to share. By 1903, the growing collection was moved to a rental location downtown, and all non-club members could pay $.50 per year for library privileges. In 1912, the club asked the city to take over the 1,000 volume collection as a public library. A librarian was appointed, and tax money was raised to rent a building in the downtown business district. In 1920, the Library Board purchased an existing downtown building that was to house the library for over 45 years.
By the early 1960's, the library had clearly outgrown its location and plans were made to construct a new building specifically for the library in a downtown park. The library board owned a lot where the fire department is now built but decided it was too small for the building they needed. Finding they were unable to meet federal construction grant requirements, residents raised over $65,000 to pay for a new, one-story library to house 22,000 books. In 1984, an 800 square foot children's room was added on the north side of the library, once again using locally donated monies.
The library moved from city to district status following a successful referendum in 1991. At that time, the Library Board purchased the land under the library from the City of Bushnell. When the new district increased our library population to 4,706, our building continued to provide plenty of space for our collection, growing technology and programs. In 1995, using a state grant, the library automated its circulation with a Novell network. In 1997, Internet access for patrons was added, then in 1998, two children's computers with educational CD-ROMs were added.
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