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  Table of Contents about Andrew Carnegie About Allen Gardiner, author of The Carnegie Legacy in Kansas Further information about Libraries featured in this book Carnegie Legacy in Kansas logo: Link that takes you to the home page  


The first efforts toward having a library were made in 1887 by a reading circle which called itself The Ladies Library Association. As an outgrowth of this, the Ladies Library Club was organized on Nov. 1, 1898. A library was opened in the basement of a school building. Members of the Library Club were charged $1.00 per year. In April, 1900, voters agreed to accept responsibility for the library and a city library opened June 1, 1901.
Carnegie Library: Clay Center, Kansas

In 1907, an auxiliary group to the Library Club, known as "The Branch, "set about the task of raising money to build a library building. About $2,000.00 was raised. The Helianthus Club joined in the effort in 1908 and gave an operetta as a fundraiser. Representatives of both the Library Club and the Helianthus Club wrote to Andrew Carnegie who offered a grant of $10,000.00 on December 2, 1909. On April 6, 1909, the proposition of having a Carnegie library was approved by a margin of 160 votes.
A site occupied by the City Park Hotel on Sixth Street and Lincoln was chosen. The Commercial Club undertook the task of securing the site and raised funds through subscription. The title could not be obtained until all the subscriptions were paid, which delayed the construction process. The site was purchased in March, 1911, for $5,000.00.
The building was designed by H. B. Winter of the architectural firm of Winter & Meier, Manhattan. The contract was given to Sanneman Bros., of Green, for $10,540.80, and the plumbing contract was awarded to Miller & Reed, of Clay Center, for $1,177. Businessmen donated $2,000.00 toward the project. Work began in October, 1911. The cost of the building was $12,548.78. It was opened to the public in 1912.
The building is rectangular, 46' x 69', two stories above a raised basement. The exterior is of gray brick with stone trimmings. The handsome front entrance is of classical design. Large fluted columns frame the door on either side, and there is a balcony between these columns on the upper floor. The words "Carnegie Library" appear in high relief on the porch entablature. A brick parapet conceals the flat roof. The basement walls to the water- table are of Manhattan stone.
The main floor of the library was remodeled in 1967. The State Library offered a grant of $6,196.00, matched with $7,083.00 of local moneys, for the project. In 1970 a children's room was