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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.

Alta Community Library History       

The library was supported by the taxes paid by the community, but this was not always so.  In the spring of 1911 a women's club of the town started a movement to establish and maintain an association library.  The movement had been anticipated and some small amount of money accumulated from activities promoted by the women.  Not enough for much book buying, so the women and friends of the library contributed books to the number of 500.  They were mostly books that nobody wanted.  The state library association loaned the library 100 volumes of good literature, and these are what saved the library from total avoidance.

Finally in 1913 the sponsors presented a petition to the council asking that body to call an election to submit the question of a tax to support the library.  The movement was not organized sufficiently and it was defeated by a vote of 116 for, to 123 against.  The close vote spurred the women on to a new endeavor and a little later the question was again submitted.  This time it was carried by a vote of 165 to 62 in 1919.

 

The first library was established in the southwest corner of the old opera house.  The next quarters were in the Lichtenberg building upstairs, and here it was kept for five years until the next quarters were erected.  The town of Alta contributed the sum of $10,000 toward the erection of the American Legion monument, the building, and the two rooms set apart in front of the building were used for a library and the city clerk's office.

 

Past librarians have been:  Miss Grace Clemons, Mrs. Naida Koehler, Mrs. Marion Obst, Mrs. Eleanor Johnston, Mrs. Betty Pace, Mrs. Paulline Conard, Ms. Sue Pedersen, and Mrs. Raquel Nelson.

 

In 1991, the library built a new face on Highway 7, in front of the Community Center.  This was mostly contributed toward by an anonymous donor.  Then in 2003 the public library merged with the school library to create the "Alta Community Library."  This was made largely possible through long-time resident Addie Peterson's contribution and through her sister and brother-in-law.  A 28E agreement has been established so both the school and the public library have equal legal responsibilities.  The public library has valued this position because we are now in the 21st century, with much computer traffic and automated circulation.

 

 

(Historical information taken from "1878 Alta 1978, Century of Progress.")