The Story of Us

Photos courtesy of West Plains Daily Quill and its publications, Images of America: West Plains 1930-1970 By: Tony Aid & Jerry Womack,Howell County, Missouri : a pictorial history, 1857-2007 By: Dorothea Reavis and Library Photo Collections.

Library History

Library History
1895
July 26

1895

The G. Frank Pease Memorial Library was dedicated in memory of Rev. George A. & Susie J. Pease’s son who died May 17, 1895 at age 17. The Pease Library was kept in the living room of their home for several years. The Pease home was located on West Cleveland St. (now Trish Knight St) next door to the current Yellow House Community Arts Center.

In above photo it is believed the older couple are Rev. & Mrs. Pease and at least one photo is of their late son. Unknown are man with guitar and man on right reading.

1899
July 26

1899-1938

The Library remained in the Pease home for 4 years then moved several times. Some of those locations included a small brick building on the Central School Grounds, Walnut St. School, the Mezzanine floor of Aid Hardware and a former bookstore at #6 Court Square.

These locations were staffed by volunteers of the Women’s Library Club I.

1938
August 1

1938

The Library became “official” when it moved to 2 small rooms on the 3rd floor of the courthouse on the square. The new Library contained appx. 3,000 books and employed the first paid librarian, Mrs. W. Davis.

Oline Richards, mother and librarian, said, “My children loved to go to the Library because they thought it was fun to go up the steps and go past the jail to get to the Library.”

Disclaimer: The Library and Jail shared a wall, you didn’t actually walk through the jail.

1948
August 1

1948

Members of the Women’s Library Club I lobbied for two-mill tax levy to help with expenses. This passed and helped the Library grow, which caused it to move several more times. Locations that housed the library include: Mrs. Rosser’s home-Miss Ella’s Dress Shop-the Luster Arcade-the Elledge Arcade.

1966
August 2

1966

The Libraries collection had grown to 23,696 items leaving Librarians desperate for space.  Making it necessary to move once again. The Library acquired the building on East Main St. that had recently been vacated by the U.S. Postal Service. This tripled the available space leaving room for expansion.

1967
June 4

June 4th, 1967

Open house in the newly renovated Library on East Main St.

August 2

1967

Library moved to old Post Office building on East Main St. The building was newly remodeled and the Women’s Library Club provided the thick Plexiglas cover as a viewing platform for the spring in the Children’s Dept.

1977
April 17

1977

1979
August 2

1979

With rising cost of books, equipment, and salaries the library needed to beef up their funds. Head Librarian David Coplen met with the Chamber of Commerce and from this formed the Friends of the Library organization. In the coming years the Friends group would help out with costs tremendously.

1988
December 16

1988

 

1989
August 2

1989

New tax levy passed enabling the library to purchase books and computers. The first computers were for records only. Growth of the Library’s collection in this new age also included audio books and videos which were rented at 25¢ for 2 days.

1994
March 16

March 1994

Technology came to town when the Library installed 2 computers for the public to use for writing documents and resumes, these were provided by a grant from the Gates Foundation. Librarians began to use the internet for media research and hoped to have it available for the public to use in the near future.

1995
August 15

August 15th, 1995

Library celebrates its 100th year!! Mayor Gene Jones  proclaims August as West Plains Public Library Month.

1996
August 26

August 26, 1996

 

1997
September 19

September 19, 1997

Approximately 200 members of the community attended the groundbreaking ceremony held at the Library’s future site on Broadway and Minnesota Ave.

November 10

November 10th, 1997

Meco Systems of Springfield was awarded the contract for construction of the new Library with a budget of $1,496,600.

December 21

December 21st, 1997

Construction began December 1997!!!! Look how far we have gotten in 4 months!

1998
November 21

November 21st, 1998

 

Another milestone for the Library was the Book Brigade held to move the last 104 books, commemorating the Library’s 104th year, by passing them hand to hand through a chain of volunteers stretching from the old Library on 204 East Main St. to the new location at 750 W. Broadway. Much fanfare was made and a good time had by all on the unseasonably warm afternoon.

November 22

November 22nd, 1998

 

Ribbon Cutting and Dedication ceremony for new Library sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. Many community members gathered to mark the closing of one chapter of the Library and the opening of a new era for the community. The Library officially opened the next to and returned to business as usual.

2012
October 11

Oct. 11th, 2012

October 16

October 2012

New Teen Space is Open for business! Funded by a donation in honor of Susan L. Pease.

2018
May 16

Spring 2018

A donation in honor of Freda Ellis and Helen Arnold was made to the Library. With these funds the Library has purchased new furnishings for the Reading Room, including chairs, lamps, tables, chess set and artwork.

Library History

Library History
1895
July 26

1895

The G. Frank Pease Memorial Library was dedicated in memory of Rev. George A. & Susie J. Pease’s son who died May 17, 1895 at age 17. The Pease Library was kept in the living room of their home for several years. The Pease home was located on West Cleveland St. (now Trish Knight St) next door to the current Yellow House Community Arts Center.

In above photo it is believed the older couple are Rev. & Mrs. Pease and at least one photo is of their late son. Unknown are man with guitar and man on right reading.

1899
July 26

1899-1938

The Library remained in the Pease home for 4 years then moved several times. Some of those locations included a small brick building on the Central School Grounds, Walnut St. School, the Mezzanine floor of Aid Hardware and a former bookstore at #6 Court Square.

These locations were staffed by volunteers of the Women’s Library Club I.

1938
August 1

1938

The Library became “official” when it moved to 2 small rooms on the 3rd floor of the courthouse on the square. The new Library contained appx. 3,000 books and employed the first paid librarian, Mrs. W. Davis.

Oline Richards, mother and librarian, said, “My children loved to go to the Library because they thought it was fun to go up the steps and go past the jail to get to the Library.”

Disclaimer: The Library and Jail shared a wall, you didn’t actually walk through the jail.

1948
August 1

1948

Members of the Women’s Library Club I lobbied for two-mill tax levy to help with expenses. This passed and helped the Library grow, which caused it to move several more times. Locations that housed the library include: Mrs. Rosser’s home-Miss Ella’s Dress Shop-the Luster Arcade-the Elledge Arcade.

1966
August 2

1966

The Libraries collection had grown to 23,696 items leaving Librarians desperate for space.  Making it necessary to move once again. The Library acquired the building on East Main St. that had recently been vacated by the U.S. Postal Service. This tripled the available space leaving room for expansion.

1967
June 4

June 4th, 1967

Open house in the newly renovated Library on East Main St.

August 2

1967

Library moved to old Post Office building on East Main St. The building was newly remodeled and the Women’s Library Club provided the thick Plexiglas cover as a viewing platform for the spring in the Children’s Dept.

1977
April 17

1977

1979
August 2

1979

With rising cost of books, equipment, and salaries the library needed to beef up their funds. Head Librarian David Coplen met with the Chamber of Commerce and from this formed the Friends of the Library organization. In the coming years the Friends group would help out with costs tremendously.

1988
December 16

1988

 

1989
August 2

1989

New tax levy passed enabling the library to purchase books and computers. The first computers were for records only. Growth of the Library’s collection in this new age also included audio books and videos which were rented at 25¢ for 2 days.

1994
March 16

March 1994

Technology came to town when the Library installed 2 computers for the public to use for writing documents and resumes, these were provided by a grant from the Gates Foundation. Librarians began to use the internet for media research and hoped to have it available for the public to use in the near future.

1995
August 15

August 15th, 1995

Library celebrates its 100th year!! Mayor Gene Jones  proclaims August as West Plains Public Library Month.

1996
August 26

August 26, 1996

 

1997
September 19

September 19, 1997

Approximately 200 members of the community attended the groundbreaking ceremony held at the Library’s future site on Broadway and Minnesota Ave.

November 10

November 10th, 1997

Meco Systems of Springfield was awarded the contract for construction of the new Library with a budget of $1,496,600.

December 21

December 21st, 1997

Construction began December 1997!!!! Look how far we have gotten in 4 months!

1998
November 21

November 21st, 1998

 

Another milestone for the Library was the Book Brigade held to move the last 104 books, commemorating the Library’s 104th year, by passing them hand to hand through a chain of volunteers stretching from the old Library on 204 East Main St. to the new location at 750 W. Broadway. Much fanfare was made and a good time had by all on the unseasonably warm afternoon.

November 22

November 22nd, 1998

 

Ribbon Cutting and Dedication ceremony for new Library sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. Many community members gathered to mark the closing of one chapter of the Library and the opening of a new era for the community. The Library officially opened the next to and returned to business as usual.

2012
October 11

Oct. 11th, 2012