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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 library was established July 31, 1892, under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church with the Rev. J. W. Funk being the prime mover. The library was transferred to the city on July 28, 1893, and a public reading room was located in the city hall. At that time the library was directed by a board of councilors and patrons were required to buy tickets at a yearly rate of $1.50 to use it. A library tax was begun in 1902.
Carnegie Library: Halstead, Kansas

On January 23, 1909, Andrew Carnegie responded to Halstead's plea for a library building by offering $7,500.00 for a library. In February, the city council accepted Carnegie's offer. No further action was taken, however, until February, 1915, when the offer was actually taken up. The city pledged to furnish a site and an annual budget of $750.00.
A site at the corner of Third and Main Streets was chosen, and the architectural firm of George P. Washburn & Son, of Ottawa, was engaged to design the building. The contract was let, July 19, 1916, to L. F. Nibelong, of Ottawa, for $6,251.00. Southwestern Electric Co., of Wichita, got the contract for the electrical work, and the plumbing and heating contract went to George A. Lehman. The general contract was originally $6,364.00 but $113.00 was deducted because the board had determined to use an imitation stone rather than Carthage or Bedford stone for the trimming. The building was dedicated April 17, 1917. The total cost was just over $8,000.00.
The building was rectangular, one-story on a raised basement. The exterior was of hollow tile construction with a brick veneer; a light-colored stone was used to trim the windows and doors, and for the water-table. There was a slightly projecting pavilion which framed the front entrance. The building had a hipped pantile roof. The rather utilitarian building was distinguished by two sets of three windows, double-hung, nine-over-one.
The building became increasingly crowded, and on November 7, 1972, voters approved a $98,000 bond issue to construct a new library building. In 1973, the books were temporarily moved to the new city hall basement. The old Carnegie building was razed and the new building was erected on the same site. The new library was dedicated in May, 1974. U.S. Senator Bob Dole gave the dedicatory address. In 1984, the basement was finished for library use.
The library now has 13,400 volumes and serves a population of 2,000. 16,150 items were circulated in 1984. The 1985 budget is $28,400.00. The library is a member of the South Central Kansas Library System.