100 Year History of the Herington Public Library:
Miss Drusilla Herington, daughter of the town’s founder, along with other women, organized the Women’s Mutual Benefit Club in 1897, principally as a study club, but with an early goal to establish a public library. To this end, they raised money holding rummage sales, conducting minstrel shows and holding women’s baseball games. The club bought lots on South Broadway.
A separate entity interested in having a library in Herington was formed in 1904: The Herington Library Association. These two groups, The Women’s Mutual Benefit Club of Herington and the Herington Library Association worked toward their goal for six years.
Herington Public Library opened in 1910 with a paid librarian. Mrs. Naill, president of the association, was instrumental in obtaining a reading room in a building on Main Street, west of Broadway, owned by J.W. Creech, a wealthy railroad contractor. Patrons were charged a fee of one dollar per year to use the library. When a separate building was desired, Mayor W.M. Koons contacted the Carnegie Corporation, requesting money to build a library in Herington. His figure of $7,000 was based upon his assumption that the city could raise $700 in an annual tax meeting the required ten percent of the building cost. The Corporation refused, saying that it was their belief that it would take $10,000 to build the library.
On June 9, 1913 the city council passed a resolution agreeing to raise the needed $1,000 and the Carnegie Corporation agreed to participate. Crowell and Van Meter, of Wichita, the architectural firm engaged to design the building sent off the first set of plans in October, 1913, however the final plans were not approved until February 1915. Herington’s Public Library was completed the end of December and officially opened on New Year’s Day 1916. On June 25, 1987 the library was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Through the years several renovations have occurred and amenities added. In 2005, an elevator was added to the building, as well as toileting facilities for wheelchair bound persons. In 2006, we rearranged the stacks to allow wheelchair access in the aisles, bringing the library into compliance with the regulations of the American with Disabilities Act. At this time, the children’s and young adult books were moved to the lower level. In 2009 the library purchased new windows for the upper level of the library.
Mrs. Roberta McKowan 1910-1924 (aka Mrs. Bruce Crary)
Mrs. Ethyl Ragland 1924-1930
Mrs. Ida C. Storer 1930-1945
Mrs. C.H. Van Deventer 1945-1948
Mrs. Marion G. Young 1948-1969
Mrs. Viriginia Stuart 1969-1992
Mrs. Frances Vogel 1992-1994
Donna Thiessen Barta 1994-2000
Susan Carlson 2000-2007
Judy Fuemmeler 2007-2010
Shelly Wirtz 2010-Present
Shelly Wirtz: Director
Gwen Owens Wilson: Assistant Librarian
Marilyn Peterson: Assistant Librarian
Susan Mueller: Children’s Librarian
Janet Wade: Assistant Librarian
Gary Sims: Custodian