WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Keokuk Public Library Anniversary

Sep 28, 2012

Public Radio’s Jason Parrott’s guest on Emphasis is Tonya Boltz, who is in charge of patron services for the Keokuk Public Library.

They discuss a significant milestone for the facility.

The library will hold an open house from 1:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M. on Saturday, Sept. 29 to mark its 50th anniversary at its current location at the corner of 5th and Concert Streets.

Boltz says the building has had the same, modern look since 1962.

“This is the original structure of the building, but there have been many improvements.  We have done a lot of work in the lower level, which now has the art center and we have also done a lot of improvements to the children’s area and the genealogical area and a lot of other areas that make it a lot more convenient than it was before.”

Boltz says Keokuk’s first library, in 1863, was a subscription library, requiring payments to check out books. 

She says it changed to a public library, supported by tax dollars, in the 1880’s.

Boltz says the former library, which featured children’s services on one level and adult services on a second level, was located at 3rd and Main Streets.

“At the time, the building was two levels, so it made it very difficult for people with physical disabilities.  The building, now, you can come in as there are no steps and an elevator in the back, which has been recently put in.”

Boltz says there was also another factor.  She says the former library was in a “red-light” district, which led to the move to the current location.

The 50th anniversary open house will feature several speakers, tours, and a slide show depicting the construction of the Keokuk Public Library at 5th and Concert Streets.

Boltz says anyone with stories about the old library are encouraged to attend so the stories can be written down or recorded for future generations.