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Shattuck, S. F., et. al (ed.) / A history of Neenah
(1958)

Neenah Public Library,   pp. 358-360 PDF (828.5 KB)


Page 358


NEENAH PUBLIC LIBRARY
A LITERARY SOCIETY, believing that the city needed more cultural
opportunities, organized as the Neenah Library Association in March,
1882, to raise funds for a library. Through the efforts of this organiza-
tion, our present library and library services were begun.
  The members of this first committee were the Rev. J. E. Chapin,
J. N. Stone, Mrs. J. A. Kimberly, Mrs. G. W. Todd and Mrs. John
Proctor. By-laws and a constitution were drawn up and the first
library was established in a room in the First National Bank.
  Through a series of literary programs and musicals, money was
raised to buy books and periodicals. This committee, which was
enlarged and changed from time to time, carried on until September i,
1883, when all the holdings of the Association were turned over to the
city, which then assumed the responsibility of the care and main-
tenance of the project. The library was moved to the City Hall,
where it remained until transfer to the new building. During its stay
in the City Hall, it was twice remodeled and enlarged to take care of
the growing interests and needs.
  Through the efforts of Mr. Robert Shiells, a Board member, $12,500
was obtained from Andrew Carnegie toward a new building. The
citizens of Neenah raised the balance needed through popular sub-
scription. Mrs. Theda Clark Peters gave the site, on the Fox River,
which at that time was in the geographical center of the city.
  In January, 1904, the new library was completed and opened for
business. Miss Zana K. Miller was the first librarian and Miss Cora
Lansing the assistant.
  The building, which cost about $28,ooo, is of Bedford stone and
gray brick, with a frontage of 175 feet. The center part is 71 feet high
and has two wings, each 48 feet high. The interior woodwork is oak,
as were the polished floors. The first floor housed the book stacks, a
small reference room, the children's room, a large reading- room and
two smaller offices. The room arrangement is convenient. The base-
ment had one large room and smaller ones used for storage. The
members of the Women's Tuesday Club furnished the large room and
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