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Library History

Read how this library was established and how it has evolved to become such an important part of our community.
The Colo Public Library was started by the Epworth League. They canvassed the community, pulling little red wagons to collect any books people would donate to start the library. The library was located in the upstairs of the city hall, which has since been demolished. Members of the Epworth League operated the library for a while. On March 23, 1939 the first library council meeting was held at the school house. Marie McCoy was elected chairman, and Grace McCollom was elected secretary-treasurer. They were open one hour on Wednesday noon for the school children, with preference given to the country children at this time. They were also open on Saturdays from 1-5 PM and 7-9 PM, Saturday nights being a very busy night in communities at that time. Dues of 10 cents per child and 25 cents for each high school student and adult were charged to raise money to purchase books. Ruth Kimberly was elected chairman for the summer months. The first funding from the City of Colo was received on July 1, 1940. It was $213.00, therefore their funds were very limited. The first hired librarians were high school girls paid by N.Y.A. funds. The library board consisted of the three ministers (Evangelical, Methodist, Catholic), the school superintendent, and a representitive from the B.F.&T.;, W.O., and C.L. clubs. The board held several special projects. They purchased new drapes and helped in various ways. They asked for a library board of nine members to be appointed to organize and hold regular meetings. In 1975, the library was closed and preparations were made to move into a new library located in the South end of the west side of the newly built community building / fire station. The new facilities opened on August 1975. In 1988, the Library expanded into the area that formerly housed the City clerk's office. During this period of time, many shelves, video storage cabinets, circulation desks, etc., were made for the library by Clayton Hopkins. September 1989 was an exciting time as Thomas L. Handsaker gave the city a check for $18,000.00 in memory of his daughter, Patrica Handsaker Hughes, to remodel the fire station into a new library. It would be over three times as large and include a room that would house his personal library, called "Handsaker Room". Construction began in December 1990 and was completed on January 30, 1991. The moving of books began January 31 and was completed Febuary 2, with many people from the community helping with the move. The library was closed for one week during which time the old shelving and furnishings were moved and the Handsaker oak bookcases and books were put in place. The new library opened again on Febuary 8, 1991 with an open house and dedication on Sunday, April 14, 1991. The library's services have grown considerably over the years. In addition to many books, a copier, three computers, books on cd and cassettes, video tapes, dvds, musical cds, cake pans and periodicals are available for public use. Due to the foresight of the Epworth league that started the library, the librarians who kept it going under adverse conditions many years, the people who use their own community facilities, and the funding from city and county, we now have a library of which we are proud.