In 1916, the city council of Gordon passed a resolution setting aside the site of the old power house, as it was known, on West Second street for the purpose of building a public library. The Federated Women’s Club, under the leadership of Mrs. R.O. Bard, raised $370 to be used as a library fund.
On October 26, 1916, the Women’s club formed an organization which voted to erect a building on the proposed site. A ways and means committee raised the original fund to $579.33.
In 1920, the Women’s club came to the assistance of the Library association. At a general meeting of the club in 1920, the members discussed the need of doing some definite work for the good of the community, and the question of working for a public library was considered. On October 11, 1921, Mrs. J.W. Leedom, president, presented the library idea to 50 club members, assembled at the home of Anna Shadbolt. It was decided the foundation of the Gordon Public Library would be the project for the club year of 1921-22. It was suggested that a room in the City Hall be secured for a library room.
On January 5, 1922, the city council unanimously passed a resolution granting the Gordon Women’s club the use of a room in the City Hall for a public library.
The book donation by the Gordon citizens was made February 18, 1922. The library association had already turned over a check for $573.33 on November 30, 1921, which was combined with the fund of $425 of the Women’s club, and the success of the undertaking was assured.
Miss Nellie Williams, secretary of the Nebraska Traveling Library association, met with the library board and gave them instruction in cataloging the books. Mrs. Grace McCoy Hummel offered her services as librarian. On March 25, 1922, the Gordon Public Library was formally opened to the public in the upper room of the old fire hall.
The president of the Women’s club, Mrs. J.W. Leedom, and Mesdames R.O. Bard, Fanny Moore, Grace M. Hummel, R.E. Johnson and Mary Jones, officials of the library board, pushed to completion this magnificent piece of community work, for the city of Gordon and its farming community.
In May, 1922, the Women’s club turned the management of the library over to the city of Gordon and it is now supported by a tax levy.
Members of the first library board appointed by the city council were Mesdames J.W. Leedom, F.C. Hill and Anna Shadbolt. Mrs. Grace Hummel, the first librarian, served in this position for many years and started at a salary of $20 per month. The late Mrs. Nell Hill, one of the original board members appointed by the city council in 1922, served in that capacity for 57 years, and retired in 1979. Mrs. Myrtle Johnson also served as librarian from September 1972.
In 1987 the new building on the corner of Main and 5th Street was made ready for occupancy. All of the grade school children were lined up for five blocks and every book was relayed from the old library to the new facility. Each child touched every one of the 10,000 plus books in the City Library.
Mary Helen Christoffersen succeded Myrtle Johnson as Director in 1987 and remained so until her retirement in 1995. Maria Kling became Assistant Librarian in 1988 and became director in 1995. Rachael Price joined the library staff in 2007 when she became Assistant Librarian. Librarians Gayle Talbot and Cindy Sandoz have been with the library since October and November of 2006, respectively.[Top]