In 1897, on a day so ordinary that record was not made of it, Charles W. Bopp, president of the Bopp Brothers State Bank, placed a few books from his personal collection on a shelf on the rear room of the bank and made them available to the public. The popularity of this project led him to suggest to the city council that a city-owned library be established. To this end, Bopp donated $500 in cash to the city for the purchase of books.
The matter was approved by the citizens of Hawkeye, and on January 4, 1898, the library was organized at a meeting held at the bank. A nine-member library board was appointed, and the first librarian, Mr. A. Ridley, was selected. He served at a salary of $25 a year. The library was open only two days a week for two hours each day.
The Hawkeye Free Public Library, as it was known at the time, was the first free public library in Fayette County.
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