Welcome October! We are looking forward to leaves falling, crisp temperatures and snuggling up with a good book.
Our library is the place to get your fall reads. We look forward to seeing all of you. Remember when coming to visit, bring your library card and wear your mask.
Now for some library history. Have you ever wondered who the librarians were through the years at your public library? According to our library history, the library started in 1882 as a reading room in the town hall.
Each Saturday, the library was open with Mr. Loomis attending to it; he was a member of the board. The following year, Mrs. Loomis took over the library duties and continued to look after the library until her retirement in 1900. At this point, the library had 2,428 books.
Miss Frances Simons was appointed librarian after Mrs. Loomis retired. She was the librarian when the reading room outgrew the space in the town hall and was moved into the newly-built Carnegie Library in 1912. Her sister, Miss Minnie Simons, succeeded her. Minnie was the librarian until 1934, when a trained librarian, Miss Elizabeth Windsor was appointed.
In Aug. 1937, Miss Windsor resigned and Miss Leona Ringering took over. In 1941, the collection had grown to 9,885 books. The library observed its 50th birthday. Miss Ringering resigned in 1945 and the library board hired Miss Elizabeth Johnson. Miss Johnson worked as librarian until 1948.
Miss Betty Neal came to Rochelle in 1948. Betty was quite involved in activities and organizations. As of June 1, 1955, there were 14,516 books available. In 1956 and 1964, extensive remodeling was done to the building and in 1964, the children’s department opened downstairs. The outdoor book drop was added. In 1973, Marilee McSweeny was appointed as director and Barbara Kopplin was hired as director from 1973-2015. Ms. Kopplin oversaw the building of the addition to the library in 1989 and was here to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Library in 2012.
I was hired as library director in July 2015. We have seen many changes throughout the years at the public library. Besides books, we now offer media, eBooks and streaming. We have more than 60,000 volumes in the building and an extended collection through PrairieCat. We will celebrate our 110th birthday in 2022.
"A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book; you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book; you may have your question answered." -E.B. White
Sarah Flanagan is the Flagg-Rochelle Public Library Director.