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Library History

Gordon City Library History

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.


  1. Rick Rick

    Greetings; I am looking for some help finding a couple of obituaries. The information I have says that he died in Gordon & I am guessing his wife also died in Gordon but I am not sure of it. Can you direct me to someone who could look for the obituaries for me?????

    THANK YOU for your help!!

    • Good afternoon, Rick. We just sent you an email with some information in it – if you need any more assistance, please let us know. Thanks!

  2. Linda Vander Linden Linda Vander Linden

    I would like to find two obituaries for the year 1966 and 1972, I have the death dates, do you do this type of research.

    Thank You.


    • Hi, Linda, thanks for your question. We do look up obituaries and type them up (unfortunately we don’t have the ability to print them off with our microfilm reader). We charge $5 per obituary and we can either email or send them to you via USPS. Please give us a call 308-282-1198 or email us at for more information or to get the obituary details to us.

  3. Barb Barb

    I have part of an obituary that says it is from the Gordon Journal 1934 – 1936; 3 May 1934 for Cyrus I. Peyton but it is not complete. Is there any way to get an electronic copy of this obituary?

    • Unfortunately the library does not currently have a way to make electronic copies of our microfilm. We can manually look up the obituary and copy it down to send to you. The charge for this is $5. Please email us at or call (308) 282-1198 for more information.

  4. Ellen Modersohn Ellen Modersohn

    I would like to read copies of the Sheridan County newspaper from 1913 to 1918. Does the library have them and would I be able to sit and read them? Are they on microfilm or original paper?

    • Hi Ellen,
      The library does have most of the Sheridan County newspapers on microfilm. Unfortunately we don’t have any way of printing them, but you are welcome to come read them and copy by hand or take pictures of the slides any time.

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