Akron Public Library History
The Akron Public Library was established in May of 1927 with a nucleus of books given by George Dudley, the Civil Improvement Club, and many private donations of books and money.
The first library was in the Baptist parsonage and all work was on a volunteer basis.
In 1932, the library was taken over by the city of Akron, and has been tax supported ever since.
In 1928 the library was moved to the main floor of the public school. It remained at the school until 1954 when more space was needed by the school and the superintendent's office was moved into the two rooms the library occupied.
In 1954 a library building was erected on the north side of the school auditorium and bus barn. The library was convenient for the school children, and many pupils can recall running quickly to the library between the time classes were dismissed and the busses drove away.
In April of 1973 Mrs. Hyla Olson, Chairman of the Library Board, was instrumental in achieving federal library construction funds by the Iowa Library Commission in the amount of $16,706 for the purpose of building a new Library-City building. The vacant lot just east of Barwick Implement was purchased and Larry Book Contracting was awarded the contract for the building at a cost of $63,334.00. Later that same year the Library Board applied to the Kinney-Lindstrom Foundation for financial assistance to furnish the new library and the library was awarded $10,000 to purchase new furniture and shelves for the library.
On June 20, 1974 the public library, city clerk's office, and large conference room were open to the public in the one-story brick and tile building at 350 Reed Street. For more than 20 years this was a perfect match as the two entities shared the same building.
Both eventually discovered they needed more room so in August of 1995 the city clerk's office moved one block west and consolidated all offices of the city while the library was able to expand into the former conference room and create a new Children's Area. The city clerk's office became a fine new meeting room for the public to use.
The Akron Public Library did in-house retro-conversion transferring all the library materials and patrons to computers during 1997. This process was finished and automated circulation began by February 2, 1998.
The library held an open house celebrating the arrival of two new patron computers with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on October 15, 2003. These computers came fully installed with Windows 2000 Professional and a new laser printer.
The Library purchased a lot behind the building on July 1, 2004 for $9,000 to be used as a Readers Garden. After laying sod, planting bushes, flowers and trees, adding a sidewalk, pathways, table, benches and lights, the official ribbon cutting ceremony was held September 23, 2005.
In May of 2006, the Akron Public Library updated the computer system transferring all the library software from DOS to a web-based program and acquired a new server and office computer to run the program.
Interested in more history? Check out the Iowa Historical Society.