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  Table of Contents about Andrew Carnegie About Allen Gardiner, author of The Carnegie Legacy in Kansas Further information about Libraries featured in this book Carnegie Legacy in Kansas logo: Link that takes you to the home page  


In 1868, a group of fifteen leading citizens drew up a formal petition for charter of the Salina Library Association "for the purpose and object of establishing a public and circulating library." A charter was granted by the Kansas Secretary of State on March 19, 1868. In the next twenty-five years there were a not-continuous series of small reading rooms, and in November, 1893, Dr. William Bishop, a noted minister and educator, issued a public call to establish a more organized free reading room. A room was secured in the Odd Fellow Hall at Seventh and Iron. A $3.00 subscription fee was charged to those who could afford it, and funds were raised from lectures, teas, musicales and ballgames.
Carnegie Library: Salina, Kansas

On April 27, 1899, Mayor T. W. Roach appointed a library board and in that year a mill levy was established for financial support of the new library. On Jan. 2, 1900, the new city library opened its doors in the Odd Fellow Hall. In March, 1901, it was moved to a building on South Santa Fe.
Oscar Seitz, a library board member, was authorized to contact Andrew Carnegie about a library building, and on February 15, 1902, Carnegie offered $15,000.00 for a building. Work began immediately on raising funds to procure a site. Possibilities were narrowed to five locations, and on April 1, 1902, a site at the southwest corner of Eighth and Iron was chosen. The names of the architect and contractor have been lost, but work proceeded rapidly, and the building was open for business in June, 1903.
The building was a two-story structure above a raised basement, of red brick with trim of white stone. The front facade was flanked by a classical portico supported by two Ionic columns.
By 1917, the library was becoming crowded but it was not until 1928 when an addition was made to the building. Funds from the Jennie Bartlett estate, plus the proceeds from a special mill levy, provided $34,000.00 for the addition.
On Feb. 19, 1952, a $25,000.00 bond issue for public library improvements passed by a tiny measure. On Nov. 8, 1960, a $727,000.00 bond issue to construct a new city library was soundly defeated, but a little over four years later, on Feb. 23, 1965, a $675,000.00 bond issue for a new library was approved by the voters by a two-to-one margin. The State Library offered $253,951.00 for the new building project. It was completed in October, 1968, and the old Carnegie building was razed.