Kinsley Public Library

208 East 8th Street
Kinsley, KS 67547

About the Kinsley Library

Seventy years ago, in January 1927, the city assumed financial support of the public library. But, for forty years or more before then, Kinsley had had a library for the use of the public.

The best remembered early location of the library was the corner of the millinery shop operated by the Misses Myrton and Morton (Myrt and Mort) Schnatterly. A gift of books from the Christian Endeavor Society of the Congregational Church added to the collection in the library.

When the Schnatterlys closed their shop, the library was moved to the balcony of the Edwards and Noble Store (on the southwest corner of the intersection of Marsh Avenue and Sixth Street) and, in 1925, to the north room in the high school gymnasium.

At the program in the gymnasium celebrating the opening, Harry Schnatterly had this to say concerning the development of the library:

"The Wednesday Night Club, with the support of other clubs, kept the library open for many years. It couldn't have been done without the dedication of the late Margaret Hills, who, for many of those years, acted as librarian.

"The Wednesday Night Club put on the first big Shakespearian play, Midsummer Night's Dream for the library fund. Leila Morse Hamilton was president at that time and Gilmore Brown came to produce the play." (Gilmore Brown went on to found the Pasedena Playhouse, where many prominent actors, particularly movie actors, got their training.)

With Jessie Fravel as librarian, the library was a busy place. The financial responsibility of the sponsoring clubs was great and the members began working for city tax support. In April, 1926, city voters approved a mill levy for the library, to take effect the following January. To signify the union of the library and the city, the clubs of Kinsley celebrated by staging a mock wedding, with a script written by Nell Lewis Woods, in the home of Mrs. Roy Hatfield.

Miss Fravel continued as librarian until May, 1927, when Mrs. Lillie Riley took her place. In 1941, a fire destroyed the high school building and damaged the gymnasium. The library's new home was the second floor of what was then the City Hall and Fire Station (on the east side of Marsh just south of Fifth Street). A few months later, Mrs. Riley resigned and was replaced by Mrs. Elsie Jenkins.

In 1954, the library moved once more, this time to the newly built City Hall and Library Building, on a site at Eighth and Marsh donated by Mr. and Mrs. Edward Lippoldt. Mrs. Lippoldt donated the furniture for the Children's Room.

Mrs. Jenkins continued as librarian until her death in 1967. She was succeeded by Mrs. Edna Brown, who retired in 1972 and was replaced by Beverly J. Craft. After her retirement in 1997, Joan Weaver was appointed library director.

During the years of the library's existence, it has benefited many times from the generosity of its friends and patrons. Donations to the library have included books, records, paintings, furniture and equipment. Several local citizens have remembered the library in their wills. In addition, the collection has grown appreciable through gifts of memorial books.
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