About Us

Our History

The Fredonia Public Library was founded before it actually had a place to put the books. In late 1913 or early 1914, Dr. A. C. Flack brought together a group of like-minded people to talk about a library. The group raised about $500.00 to buy books, and they selected the books to be bought. Where to place these books was the next question. About that time there was talk of building a new high school. Some thought it didn't need to be so big, but others felt it could house the library also. The building was completed in 1914, and the library was given the use of the north rooms on the second floor rent, heat and light free. The library occupied that space until 1925 when the school needed the space. Sometime between 1914 and 1925, someone dug out the law allowing cities to levy a tax to support a library. After the library board canvassed every house in Fredonia, the levy was passed and the library had a fund of less than one mill.

In 1925, the library moved to a store front on the east side of the square. Rent, heat and light were added to the expense. That left very little money for books. An appeal was made to the public for assistance, and while money was raised, it was not a permanent answer. The board asked for an increase to the maximum levy allowed, and it was granted.

About 1930 the Congregational Church was closed, and the City of Fredonia bought the building (for $2,000) to house the library. It was a well-built structure, and needed only to be furnished with book-stacks and furniture. In 1932 it was remodeled as part of a project to put more people to work.

In 1967, a local architect, Garrold Griffin, was selected to design the new library building. The library was moved back to the square so the church could be demolished and a new library building could be built. The new library, shaped like an open book, was dedicated in 1969, and was planned for 15,000 books. This is the Library building that now stands at 807 Jefferson. At the end of 1996, the library collection numbered 27,000+ books, videos, audio cassettes, computer software, magazines, vertical files and microfilm. As of 2010 the collection has soared to almost 40,000 items.

The Fredonia Public Library is staffed by a 6-member paid staff, open 50 hours a week and offers public Internet access with a bank of 10 public access computers. It is a Core Library in the Southeast Kansas Library System, and its collection is included in the Kansas Library Catalog. The most recent technological step in circulation has been to add the collection to an online database called KOHA, which enables patrons to search for media online at their own convenience and gives them access to books, movies, and audios from 40 libraries in Southeast Kansas.