Daviess County Library Begins in 1947

The Daviess County Library was established as a county library by the voters in the spring of 1947. Miss Leona Funk was the first librarian followed by Mrs. Ross (Ina) Naylor, Betty Price, and then Jan Johnson (who retired in September, 2016, succeeded by Allison Spidle in October, 2016).

Prior to Jan’s promotion to the position of director, Jan had been a member of the staff and an active patron. In addition, Jan’s mother, Hazel Gibbens, was also on the staff and served as interim director.

At the time of Jan’s appointment to director in 1979, the library had already moved from its original location in the Van Dyke Building on North Main Street to the historic, Victorian two-story home at 215 North Main.

“The old building did not comply with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act,” Jan said. “Even after building a ramp, the building was crowded and spacing was a problem. It was like overnight the building was no longer adequate for a library.”

Jan remembers that the first half of the 1990s was a period of major changes. In 1992, county residents were asked to vote an increase in the tax levy. “That was something I lost sleep over,” said Jan. But the voters came through, and the tax levy went from 10 to 20 cents per $100 of the assessed value.

In 1993, the Pattonsburg branch, which opened in 1952, was closed due to the 100 Year Flood….”Seeing the pictures of all the books underwater, it was hard to take.”

Daviess County Library, housed in the 1900 Queen Anne style residence on N. Main Street, Gallatin

In December, 1995, the county library relocated to 306 West Grand, Gallatin. The building which previously housed a car dealership, was purchased using a matching federal grant $131,500 for a total of $263,000. It was the last year federal funds would be available for any type of library construction or renovation. The staff moved 30,000 books, five years of 40 magazine subscriptions, videos, cassettes, shelves, cabinets, microfilm paperbacks, computers and numerous heavy items (an atlas stand weighed 150 pounds!).

“Using federal funds, which were later audited, and working with architects and contractors was not part of most librarian’s job descriptions,” Jan said. “Many decisions made during the building process were a learning process for me.”

Board President Daren Adkins said he admired Jan’s calm and poise as she kept the library fully functioning and open to the public through its move in 1995 and its many other renovations in the years to follow.

“She spearheaded the move in 1995 and that was a big job,” he said. “Through the years, she has led the process of digitilization and electronics and she has been instrumental in writing numerous grants that allowed many new programs and services.”

INTERIOR IMPROVEMENTS:

In December of 1995, the lower level community room was renovated through a gift of $100,000 from Farmers Bank of Northern Missouri, formerly First National Bank of Gallatin.

In April of 2014 a new reading area opened. This donation was in memory of Lloyd and Helen Weldon and their family. After Lloyd’s death Helen remarried and was later known to many as Helen Burge. The 15 foot by 45 foot reading area is located in the north end of the library. New furnishings included comfortable egg chairs, sofas, conference table and chairs. Custom made bookcases now divide the area into three sections. Modern lighting and wall art complete the contemporary look.

EXTERIOR IMPROVEMENTS:

Since 1995 the library was also able to make several exterior improvements, including a new roof, a synthetic stucco finish, metal coping on parapet walls, metal canopies over main and community room entrances, and larger, bolder signage on east side of building.

The community parking areas were paved; automatic door openers were installed; the southern library boundaries were expanded and fenced, and several areas were landscaped.

Gifts and donations which helped make the renovations possible included a contribution from the Franklin Wilder Estate of around $45,000 in 2005, and a $20,000 gift from BTC bank in 2008.

MODERN INSIDE AND OUT:

The Daviess County Library is modern inside and out – and it features a lot more that just books.

Today the library offers special areas and services to meet the desires of all users: children’s castle, children’s computer area, teen section, public computers, hi-speed wireless Internet, computer lab, digital format in the genealogy department, gaming programs, electronic books, to name a few.

The Daviess County Library accepts as its basic objectives the provision and servicing of selected books and other materials which aid the individual in the pursuit of education, information or research, and in the creative use of leisure time.

“Updates and improvements are vital,” said Jan. “But it’s equally important for the staff to maintain a personal, friendly relationship with our library patrons.”

East side main entrance (under doorway canopy at left) into the Daviess County Library (2017)
Community Center entrance on west side of Daviess County Library (2017)

Many other fine features and furnishings in the library today would not have been possible if not for the donations and efforts of individuals, groups, and businesses.

  • April 16, 2014 New Reading Area in Library Set to Open. This donation is in memory of Lloyd and Helen Weldon and their family. After Lloyd’s death Helen remarried and was later known to many as Helen Burge.
  • Nov. 8, 2013  iPad the Fad at County Library
  • Aug. 2, 2013 A new bench is ready for outside seating. Greg Houghton designed, built, and set this bench in memory of his mother, Nancy Houghton, who was an avid reader and supporter of the library.
  • April 2013 Through a gift from the Lake Viking Homemakers, the Daviess County Library has purchased a digital image converter that converts old slides.
  • April 2013 Secretary of State Jason Kander announced the Daviess County Library received a Nonfiction Collection Makeover Grant in the amount of $4,000.
  • February 2013 Secretary of State Jason Kander announced Daviess County Library received service and programming funds in the amount of $10,699.43.
  • October 2012 E-Readers available for check out at Library.
  • August 2012 Jone Perry retired after 23 years.
  • July 2012 Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan has announced the Daviess County Library received an eReader Exploration Grant in the amount of $1,580.
  • June 2012 Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan recently announced the Daviess County Library received a Website Makeover Grant totaling $4,707.
  • April 2012 Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan recently announced the Daviess County Library received a Targeted Collection Development Grant in the amount of $1,200.
  • November 2011 Daviess County library offering online classes.
  • July 2011 Low vision aids available at the county library.
  • May 2011 Anita J. (Janie) Dunning, Missouri USDA Rural Development State Director, announced funding of $15,750 to the Daviess County Library to install a new roof on the library.
  • November 2010 The Daviess County Library 2010 book budget was increased by almost 33% through a Missouri State Targeted Collection Grant.
  • June 2010 County library receives grant for 11 new computers The total grant amount was $9,900.
  • Oct. 2009 Daviess County Library is now a wi-fi hotspot
  • Aug. 2009 Mary Jo Pittsenbarger uses her artistic skills to paint the book-shaped pillars at the Daviess County Library.
  • July 2009 Daviess County Library receives over $5,000 from Gates Foundation
  • May 2009 The Daviess County Library has received a Missouri State Library Technology Mini Grant in the amount of $5,241.
  • October 2008 BTC Bank recently presented $20,000 to the Daviess County Library to be used toward exterior renovation of the library.
  • February 2007 The Daviess County Library received notification from the State Library and the Secretary of State’s office that it had been approved for an LSTA Teen Space program grant of $9,000.
  • May 2006 The Daviess County Library and the Gallatin First Christian Church are recipients of a very generous donation from the estate of the late Franklin Wilder. The library and church each received $25,000 about halfway through the probate proceedings from the sell of real estate. Both distributees have $19,919 still coming along with four gas wells which have been inventoried
  • May 18, 2005 Retirement reception for Jean Fales
  • December 2004 Gallatin DAR presents flag to library
  • September 2004 Improvements underway at library, new sign will be added
  • May 2004 Daviess County Library receives grant to host fair for senior citizens The library has received a $1,240 Federal IMLA/LSTA grant
  • January 2003 Computer classes offered at public library
  • February 2002 Raffle winners donate Big Screen for public use at county library Access II fund raiser helps make everyone a winner!
  • October 2001 County library receives $44,620 grant Secretary of State Matt Blunt in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s U.S. Library Program announces grants totaling $44,620 for the Daviess County Library System for computer hardware, software, training, and technical support. The library will receive a cash grant for computers, a laser printer, and wiring costs.
  • March 2001 The Daviess County Library was awarded a $6,517 grant from the Missouri State Library to purchase two new computers.
  • March 2001 The Verda Clements Memorial Fund has placed a piano in the Daviess County Community Room.
  • August 2000 Improvements at the Daviess County Library in Gallatin are being funded by Public Library Equalization funding received locally for the second consecutive year. County Librarian Jan Johnson says over $17,000 received here financed book purchases boosting the young adult book series, the audio book department and computer technology at Gallatin and at the Jamesport branch.
  • July 2000 Helen Muller caps 24 years serving on the library board
  • June 1999 A new parking lot is completed and other exterior remodeling projects are in progress this summer at the Daviess County Library in Galatin. A fund raising drive in support of the project is still in progress. The project is estimated at $37,500. Fund raising efforts have thus far raised $28,400. The library is still accepting donations and the library staff hopes the work can be done completely with contributions. Those donating $25 or more will receive a canvas book bag with the library logo printed on the front. Present donations have ranged from $1.00 to $1,000.00.
  • December 1995 The library relocated in the building at 306 West Grand, Gallatin in 1995, using a matching federal grant ($131,500) for a total of $263,000, which was the last year that federal funds have been available for any type of library construction or renovation.
  • December 1995 The lower level community room was renovated through gift of $100,000 from Farmers Bank of Northern Missouri, formerly First National Bank of Gallatin.