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Library History

You might say our library started with a book mobile in 1962 when the Federated Women's Club there was much interest in having a Book Mobile for the town of Alexander. The officers and program committee decided we'd make it as one of their projects to look into the possibilities of library service for Alexander. Little did they realize that in a few months they would have a Public Library in Alexander. A letter was received from, the State Traveling Library following their request for information about library service. There was much to learn-first that Alexander was outside of Cerro Gordo County and were not eligible for the Book Mobile. Other options were explained, a contract with Belmond, which wasn't feasible. The other option was a Reading Room which had possibilities. First space would need to be available to put books and hire someone to be a librarian and pay for book service from Mason City, or go for a public library which would mean being open 10 hours a week, having a librarian with at least a high school education, having adequate space, chairs and tables. After several meeting with the town council, they decided to give $500 to fix a room in the town hall, which also housed the city jail, so that it would be presentable as a reading room with books. A special meeting of the Women's Club was held to see what they could do to help. Thought was that they could give some money. They could type, paint, cover books, and put the books on the shelves every three months and take them off when they were exchanged to go back to Mason City. After much discussion, the town council felt that they should try for a public library. To make this worthwhile, they should be open at least ten hours a week. It would cost 35 cents per capita for the book service from Mason City. Work continued with donations, of shelving, tables and chairs. A Federal grant of $500 was obtained which helped. The whole town seemed to be helping make the book mobile a reality. The books were to arrive on November 21st, so much work needed to be done. The biggest obstacle was to remove the old jail, which proved to be a huge undertaking. At last the project was complete. As the months rolled on, and book donations poured in, it was determined a bigger space was needed, so the project started once again. A $10,000 grant was obtained from the Kinney Lindstrom Foundation for a new library. The city donated land that once held the bandstand. Work started in 1965, and was completed in the fall of 1966. The once small space housed 2,000 books, today we have over 7,000 books, hundreds of dvd's, and magazines, space for coffees, a full basement, two seperate seating areas, and five computers for patron use.

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This resource is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by State Library of Iowa.