History of the Fayette Public Library

(This is the first in a series of articles about the Howard County Public Library which will celebrate its 100th birthday on April 1, 2015.)

centernnial logoJust a little less than 100 years ago, the citizens of Fayette were waiting expectantly for the opening of the newest Carnegie Library. The women of the Fayette Book Club had been operating a lending library in the Howard Hotel since 1911 but soon the community would have a real library thanks to the work of a group of citizens led by Lew Wallace Jacobs, Sr., who petitioned the Carnegie Corporation to support a library in Fayette and the generosity of Jordan Coller who donated the land.

In May 1913 the Carnegie Corporation offered Fayette a grant of $10,000 for the purpose of erecting a free library. The city was required to provide a lot for the building and maintenance funds of not less than $1,000 per year.

The Fayette Public Library was one of 1,687 public libraries which received grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and one of 33 in the state of Missouri. Of those 33, only 22 are still serving as public libraries.

In July 1913 the Fayette voters approved the concept of a public library and voted a tax to cover its expense. Shortly thereafter construction was started. The building was completed in January of 1915. On April 1, 1915, the library officially opened its doors to the public with Miss Ivadell Grigsby serving as the first librarian.

In 1968, George R. Carson established a trust fund for the library to memorialize his wife the former Anna Kuhn. Mr. Carson agreed to make $20,000 available immediately to cover the construction of a children’s wing to the library. The new addition was completed in April 1969.