Centralia Library

520 Fourth Street, Centralia, KS 66415 | 785-857-3331 | librarian@centralialibrary.com

Library History

A Brief History of the Library
In 1880, three women members of the Literary Union established a free public library in Centralia, Kansas. They were Mrs. S.A. Best, Mrs. F.P. Bowen, and Mrs. L.R. Jackson. From their own pockets and with money raised by literary entertainments, and books from their own libraries, the first library was opened in Centralia. They were assisted by their friends and townspeople in this venture. The ladies took turns to serve as librarians without pay.

In 1902, the Centralia Library Association was formed and the Library became a subscription library. In 1906, by a vote of the citizens of Centralia, the library became the property of the City of Centralia. A few years later the levy was increased and a regular librarian was employed.

For a number of years, the library was housed in a small downstairs room in a city building, about one block off Main Street. In 1952, the library was moved to the upstairs of the same building.

In 1967, the Library Board began to discuss the hope and possibility of moving the library to a more desirable location. The hope became a reality when the American Legion Armstrong-Moyer Post No. 216 purchased the Horth Building on Main Street and deeded it to the city. The Mayor and City Council perfected plans for the library building. It was completely renovated, new lighting, heating and air conditioning was installed, and a new front was added to the outside of the building. The Library Board arranged for new shelving, carpeting and furnishings. The Centralia Library is now approximately four times greater than before.

The building and the exterior of the library are very attractive. The interior is paneled in oak and the carpeting is green. Accents of orange and brown tones are brought out in the furniture and draperies. Double-faced shelving is in desert sand. Plans of the building, arrangement of equipment and decorating was done by Dunlap and Dunlap.

At the time of the building of the new library, Mrs. Margaret Peterson served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The other trustees were Mrs. Jodel Armstrong, Mrs. Craig Bachman, Miss Leona Kjellberg, Mrs. A.E. Myers, Mrs. K.M. McBratney, and Mrs. Lucille Smith. The City Council Members were: Mayor, Robert Fowler, Virgil Kelley, Forrest McClary, Lloyd Smith and Ivan Woolsoncroft. Mrs. Ralph Brown was the librarian.

The Library received a large bequest from the estate of Margaret Peterson in 1996. The Library had out grown its building and so a search for a larger building was started. The Horalek building became available at the time and was purchased. Robert Rettele was contracted to do the renovation work. The Library was moved into the new facility June 23, 1997.

The Horalek building is at least twice the size of the old library building. The outside required little in the way of repairs, except for a new coat of pain around the windows and front. The interior was completely remodeled. All the shelving from the store was removed, the balcony was enclosed, and a bathroom was installed. The carpet is a plum color and the walls were painted a pale shade plum with a creamy white used as contrast. The orange loveseat was recovered in a plum floral print with black background to match the black chairs.

The members of the Library Board of trustees at this time were: Carl Brothers, Chairman, Mrs. Anna Channel, Mrs. Lois Bachman, Mrs. Blanche Dye, Mrs. Janelle Glatczak, Lloyd Smith and Mrs. Judy Bourne. Mrs. Dreda Smith was the librarian.