History of the Wetmore Library
The forerunner of the Wetmore Public Library was a shelf of books in a shop owned by Charles A. Caldwell, in the early 1900’s. He would rent a book for ten cents.
The Wetmore Study Club, organized, sponsored a library for many years. One room of the lumber yard was used as a library. At the time of the Second World War, the library was abandoned and the books given to the public school.
In 1961, the Study Club members set up a summer library in the Legion Hall. Books were borrowed from the State Extension Service. Volunteers took turns serving as librarians. One summer the downstairs room of Dr. Lapham’s building was used.
In 1966, a letter from Mrs. J.C. Quay, Waco, Texas, contained a check for $50 and a request that the Club use it in some worthy project to honor her mother and aunts, Mrs. Isabel Thornburrow, Mrs. Mary Scott and Miss Elizabeth Thornburrow.
The Club decided to establish a year-round library and enlisted the aid of local clubs and organizations. A delegation of the clubs met with the Mayor Robert Carson and Council members. Result: A backroom of the City Hall was provided. Some book cases were built by Don Cordon and Robert Cress and table boards and orange were used. Mrs. Roy Shumaker, President of the Wetmore Study Club appointed Mrs. Edgar Campbell, Mrs. Donald Cordon, and Mrs. Monte Elliott to select the books. The first books bought were the Little House books. Donations of used and new books were made by individuals. In 1967, the club president, Mrs. Elsie Brock appointed a library board of seven members. This board met and organized May 11, 1967 and elected the following: Chairman, Mrs. Donald Cordon; Vice-chairman, Mrs. Edgar Campbell; Secretary, Mrs. Glynn McCall; Treasurer, Mrs. Anthony Ketter; other members were Mrs. Robert Cress, Mrs. J.S. Brock and Mrs. Ivan Bryant.
In 1971, the Lion’s Club moved the library into the two downstairs rooms of Dr. Lapham. A petition, asking for a special election to consider the establishment of a city library was circulated in 1971. The election was held. The library became a city library. In 1972 the library was accepted into the NEKL System. In 1973, the Lion’s Club moved the books, etc. to the east room of the First National Bank. In 1975 a Building Fund was established. In 1979, the bank moved to new quarters and more room was made available to the library.
On January 21, 1980 the Library Board held its January meeting in the City Hall. Special guests were Mrs. Lois Adriance, Northeast Kansas Libraries System Consultant and Glen Plaisted, Director of the NEKLS, Mrs. Boyd Cawood, Nemaha County Representative to the Executive Committee of NEKLS; Mr. and Mrs. Loren Schnebly, Don Tomlinson, Don Cordon and Mrs. Ivan Bryant. “The Wetmore Experiment” was presented by Mrs. Adriance and Mr. Plaisted. A three dimensional model of the Wetmore Library as it could be was explained by Mrs. Adriance. A future meeting of all clubs and organizations was planned. A few months later, February 25, 1980, such a meeting took place. Soon afterward Don Cordon tore out partitions which converted four rooms into one. These Lions cut a door into an adjoining room: Robert Carson, Don Cordon, Larry Fund, C.M. Mapes and Hubert Suther.
Equipment added in 1980: Display tables, depressible book drop trucks, a book truck, all given by NEKLS. A book drop was installed and a card catalog purchased and two wood book cases. In 1981, NEKLS installed six units of steel shelving. Mrs. R.L. Hart gave a typewriter.
The Wetmore Study Club held spaghetti suppers in January 1980 and January 1981. The Library Board held a cakewalk during the Wetmore Fall Festival.
Visitors in the library include people from California, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.
By Irma V. Cordon, from Some History of Wetmore