BLUE RAPIDS
 PUBLIC LIBRARY

"The oldest library west of the Mississippi in continuous operation in the same building"


Built in 1875

 

The pioneer women saw the need of cultural growth. Several met on day in April of 1874 to make plans for a library. Officers were elected and local residents and friends from the East were asked to donate books. By June a charter was secured from the state.

On June 27, 1874 the Ladies' Library was opened in the D.W. Hinman Store. They managed to secure 143 books from donations. This was a busy place on Saturday afternoons. Two librarians were needed to serve the towns needs. Later, a lot on the east side of the Square was donated by the Town Company as a building site. On October 20, 1875 a brass band escorted the Ladies of the Library from Mr. Hinman's store to the new building. Dr. Mussey offered a congratulatory speech and Mayor McPherson placed a sealed container, containing a copy of the constitution, in the cornerstone of the building. In 1876 the library occupied the back room awaiting completion of the building.

In 1941 it was converted to a city library supported by a small tax levy. The library was registered with the National Historical Society in 1972.

The library has many things to offer other than its historical value. In addition to fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults, magazines, and videotapes, the library provides access to a copy machine, a microfilm reader-printer, and a computer with INTERNET access.

The Blue Rapids Times newspaper from 1871 through 1989 is on microfilm. The original papers are bound and secured in the library.

The Blue Rapids Public Library is a member of the North Central Kansas Library System. N.C.K.L. provides talking books for the visually impaired, a traveling library, interlibrary loans, a book fair, and training programs.

In the summer of 1996 the library was closed for repairs and renovation. With a Heritage Trust Fund grant and the combined efforts of the Library officials, Friends of the Library, and the community, the Library is able to maintain its historical appeal.

HOURS   Mondays and Fridays, 1-5pm
Wednesdays, 11am-5pm
Saturdays, 9am-noon
785-363-7709
Librarian   Lynne Turner

City of Blue Rapids

Last modified: September 19, 2007