Marysville Public Library History

In 1896, Marysville formed a corporation to establish a library but no significant action was taken. In 1900, The Women’s Round Table Reading Circle established and maintained a 700-volume library in the YMCA building (Astro 3 Theater building today). Between 1900 and 1910, Marysville was offered a Carnegie Library but the town failed to furnish a site and a plan to maintain the library. A building attempt failed again in 1929 when a bond issue for a new building was defeated. The present library came to be in January 1935 when the Business and Professional Women and other civic groups made the library a community project with the intent of having the city take over, which it did later that year. Money and book donations were secured from private sources and until 1938 the library was located on the second floor of the Koester Building. In 1938, the Library Board circulated petitions to establish a city library and presented them to the city council.
The library moved again to a small brick building behind what is now Marysville Mutual Insurance at 10th & Broadway. Right before the second World War, the library moved next door into the northwest corner of the Marysville Mutual Building. When war was declared the library moved to the east half of where Astro Theater now stands. In 1941, a tax levy was established to support the library.

The owners needed the building after the war so the library relocated to three rooms on the second floor of a building on Broadway. The library had an active Friends of the Marysville Public Library organized at that time.

Around 1964-65, the library collection moved into the former A&B Drug Store on the Koester Block on Broadway where it stayed for about 17 years. In 1980, Robert L. and Elsa Helvering willed the Helvering home which had been built in 1948 at 1006 Elm Street to be used as a public library. Following remodeling funded by the Endrulat Estate Fund, the collection moved in during October 1981. No tax monies were used in the renovation.

In 1990, the R. L. and Elsa Helvering Trust provided the city with the property where the present library stands. The intent was to develop a library parking lot with handicap accessibility for the Helvering home. The estimated cost of remodeling the Helvering home where the library was then housed was in excess of $430,000. Consensus was that remodeling would not be cost effective. Other suitable locations were researched but none available. During this time the Friends of the Marysville Public Library was reactivated. With their fundraisers the Friends purchased a complete microfilm collection of the local newspaper up to July 1994.

In 1993 the Helvering Trust offered the City of Marysville funds to build a new library if paired with matching funds from the city. Significant donations from Norman R. Nork and Byron E. & Eulalia Guise provided the balance needed to make the new library possible. Ground breaking ceremonies were May 2, 1994. The 88-foot by 88-foot one story building had a 24-foot by 45-foot addition on the southwest corner added after the City Council voted not to build a basement. Architects were the firm Appleby & Marsh of Salina. Altar Inc. of Topeka was selected for construction of the building. Cooperation of local businesses, community volunteers, and school children aided in moving the library collection during a two-week period in May 1995.

Dedicated on June 3, 1995 this is the first building specifically built to house the public library. Eighty-four percent of the library’s yearly operating budget is now funded by city tax dollars. Additional funding for the Library comes from fees and charges, aid from the North Central Kansas Library System and the Kansas State Library.

The library has approximately 5400 card holders and provides cards free of charge to anyone with a permanent address. About half of the library’s card holders live outside of the city limits and outside of library’s tax base. New stacks were added in September, 2003 to make the reference collection more accessible.

A complete internal renovation updated the library’s technology and look in January of 2014, made possible by the generous donation of the Guise-Weber and Helvering Trust Funds.

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