Vinita Public Library

215 West Illinois
Vinita, OK 74301


History :

The first steps were taken over 100 years ago to establish a library in Vinita. It was in 1901 that a call was issued for donations of books and by 1903 the little room called the library had 500 books on hand. Library “members” paid dues of $2.50 per year, and were allowed to check out eight books a month. One could read everything in the library in five years. Interest waned, and the library folded.

The city library was established in 1923 through efforts of the local American Legion. Vinita’s city council agreed to provide a budget of $1,500 if it could be matched by donations. Legion members provided shelving and library furnishings for a room in the Grand Auditorium upstairs in City Hall.
At the grand opening the Vinita High School band presented a brief concert atop City Hall’s first floor porch. The location for the library later changed to an upstairs room over the Fire Barn at 131 East Canadian. It remained there during construction of the Grand River Dam, and its office space was used by GRDA. The library then moved back to City Hall, this time on the first floor, an area remodeled from the stage area of the former auditorium.

A short newspaper article from early 1936 speaks of the great success of Vinita’s library, which was led by Mrs. N. K. Warner as librarian for over 18 years:

“The City Library is the pride of Vinita. It contains 6,000 volumes, and new books are added constantly to the shelves. There were 21,820 books checked out during the year 1935. It was opened to the public 12 years ago. The tables are supplied with the latest newspapers and magazines. The library is located over the City Hall. An efficient librarian and a pleasant reading room make the library a congenial retreat for students and lovers of good literature.”

During the 30 years that Mrs. R. E. Moss served as librarian, from 1949 to 1979, the library depended largely on donations to purchase books. The Vinita Lions Club donated funds and time to the building of additional shelves as the book collection grew.

In 1973 announcement was made of a bequest from the wills of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Haynes in the amount of $100,000 for a Vinita library building. Improvements were made to an existing building formerly occupied by the Coca Cola Bottling Company. The building was dedicated on October 12, 1975 as a memorial to Maurice Haynes, who was killed in World War II.

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