The Beginnings of Our Library Part 2
In part one of this series we learned a little about how the idea of a library in Sargent was conceived in the year 1919. The plan was to get a Carnegie grant. Unfortunately the town found out that the Carnegie Foundation was not building any libraries at that time. Still undeterred, the community learned that the law provided that a township could vote a tax levy for the purpose of raising money for a library. The citizens of Sargent precinct approved the tax, and so began the accumulation of a fund for a library. Different organizations around town also contributed to this fund.
In January of 1927, the library fund totaled $8977.00, and the library board was advised “to invest the fund as fast as possible in outstanding precinct warrants that drew 7% interest.” By February, 1928, they had accumulated $10,500.00, and the library board purchased a house from Mr. & Mrs. Harold Perrin for $3700.00. The plan was to “fix up the lower part of the building for library uses until such a time enough funds were available for the erection of a better building and one designed especially for the purpose.“
One month later, the library board met with Miss Nellie Williams, the state librarian. She was very excited about how our library was progressing. In fact, she encouraged the board to keep the temporary house purchased and remodel it so that it could be used as a permanent library for many years to come. The board hired someone to build book shelves on the main floor, and enlarged the basement to include a coal room. It was decided that the upper story of the building would be used to house the librarian. The new librarian would be Mrs. Bert Melchar.
The library officially opened on July 7, 1928. There were 300 volumes of fiction and 100 volumes of non-fiction. Residents of Sargent were so hungry for reading materials that within one and a half weeks, there were over 100 borrowers on file and 225 books were loaned out. Pictured below are some of the books listed in the new library.