Just when the first attempt to get library service for Marion was initiated is not known. As Marvin Oxley, Marion Historian and library trustee, wrote in his History of Marion: "Early settlers left (us) little in the way of printed records." None has turned up on the precise date of the pro-library movement.
"We must and will have a public library in Marion," reiterated Adeliza Daniels, a leader in endeavors for improvements in the city in which she was born and lived a full life of 93 years. Through her efforts, the Marion Federation of Women's Clubs was organized in November, 1901, by the women of the city for the express purpose of getting a public library for Marion. She wrote to Andrew Carnegie for funds. When he donated $11,500, the Marion Carnegie Public Library was on its way.
On March 16, 1905, in a civic program, at the Methodist Church, the new library building and its contents were formally presented to the city of Marion.
The cornerstone of the building had been laid September 9, 1904. Work started at once. A.H. Connor of Cedar Rapids had won the construction contract with his bid of $9,898. The architects were a Cedar Rapids firm, Dieman and Fiske, with Dieman more frequently mentioned in the contractor's reports.
The people of Marion, from the beginning, took much pride in their fine, new library facility. The library corner has consistently been rated and maintained as one of the city's most attractive spots. The Federation, as always deeply concerned, raised funds and bought for the library the lot to the west of the building in 1917.
The Marion Carnegie Library was planned primarily for an early 20th Century community of about 4,000 population ... The original facilities proved generally adequate through the first 30-35 years though an occasional voice for enlargements was raised. The trustees and staff were, of course, open to new ideas. The key factor was the city's population. That held virtually unchanged from 1905 through 1940. The 1940 census counted 4,721 residents, about 300 more than for 1910.
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