The History of the Siloam Springs Public Library

Here’s a fun little bit of history about how the Siloam Springs library started that we thought would be fun to share.

The dream began in 1901 when Mrs. P. E. Moss started the City Library with 20 donated books. For the next five years she worked tirelessly to collect books, by donation or loan. In February 1906, she succeeded in gathering the first group of Library Association members. They organized in the basement of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Nine directors were elected and the proposed constitution and by-laws were presented and adopted. The record states:

Purpose of the Library Association shall be to furnish good literature and encourage reading of the same among people.
Members of the Association shall pay a yearly fee of $1.00 and membership be open to everyone to join.

Four days later the directors met in Farmers Bank (Bratt-Wasson) and elected officers: President: E.L. Parks, Vice-president: Dr. F. W Axtell, Treasurer: Rev. L. H. Eakes, Secretary: Bert F. Farmer.

On February 15, it was announced that the new home for the library would be the rear room of the Harkness Jewelry Store (west side of Broadway in Ben Franklin Store block) for $6.00 per month. The Association then asked the city council for free lights, water, heat and furnishings for the room.

Membership was now 176 with 460 books donated and 219 purchased with 2,138 check-outs. Mrs. Beale was the Librarian with a $3.00 per month salary.

In 1909, the Library moved to the W.W. Brown building where the old post office now stands.

On June 30th, 1966, the current library was dedicated as the new library!

It’s been exciting to see how things have changed, (can you imagine a library with only 20 books?) and now possibly changing again for our town. Another goal for our site is to keep you up to date with news for our hopefully new library to come.