Skip To Talking Book & Braille Service Content Skip Navigation

Nebraska Public Library Founding Dates

(compiled from resources located in the Nebraska Library Commission Archives)

Last updated 9-22-14

Town Founding
Carnegie or other
Building constructed
Sponsored or assisted
by Women's Club
Adams       SELS closed
Ainsworth   1911 1911 MLS  
Albion 1900  1908   NELS Carnegie Building, designed by John P. Eisentraut, library opened in 1908
Alexandria 1920     SELS  
Allen 1936     NELS  
Alliance 1909/1910 1912 1909 PLS Carnegie Building
1909 - Nesbit; 1910 - Seavey
(Carnegie Building now serves as an Art Center)
Alma   1910 1911 1910 RVLS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building is now vacant)
Designed by the Chicago architectural firm of Patton & Miller
Anselmo     1926 MLS  
Ansley   1916   1917 MLS  
Arapahoe   1920     RVLS  
Arcadia   1917 1917   MLS Carnegie Building
Arlington 1918     ELS  
Arnold 1913 1920 1920 SELS  
Arthur       PLS  
Ashland 1902/1904  1912   ELS Carnegie Building
1902 -Nesbit; 1904 from the library
Atkinson 1922     NELS  
Auburn   1914 1914 SELS founded Aug. 27, 1914 - from the library
Aurora 1908/1909   1909 SELS Carnegie Building
1908 - Nesbit; 1909 - Seavey
(Carnegie Building now serves as Faith Community Church)
Avoca     1914 SELS  
Axtell   1925   1925 RVLS  
Bancroft       ELS  
Bartlett       NELS  
Bartley 1976     RVLS  
Bassett     1930 MLS Bookmobile service offered
Battle Creek 1939     NELS  
Bayard   1919   1919 PLS  
Beatrice   1873 1904 1881 SELS Carnegie Building. Started by Clara Colby in 1873 and Women's Christian Temperance Union formed a library in 1881. Carnegie Building has been renovated for occupation in September 2012 by the Chamber of Commerce, Gage County Tourism and Gage Area Growth Enterprise.   Beatrice Public Library Carnegie Restoration Project
Beaver City       RVLS  
Beaver Crossing     1913 SELS  
Beemer     1925 ELS  
Belden     1924 NELS (Cedar County), started as a combination school/public library
Bellevue     1929 ELS Started in 1929 by the Bellevue Junior Woman's Club (now Aokiya Woman's Club) with a gift of 12 books from the Dundee Woman's Club
Belvidere     1926 SELS (Thayer County)
Benkelman 1937   1913 RVLS organized by Una Richards
Bennington 1948     ELS  
Berwyn     1932 MLS (Custer County), organized by local people
Big Springs       PLS  
Bingham         Sponsored by the Sandhills Rural Mothers Club, a traveling library
Blair   1916 1916 1877 ELS Carnegie Building. Known as the "Ladies Library Association" in 1877, Blair's first library of 300 volumes was housed in the E.C. Pierce Furniture Store, with Miss Carrie Wiseman as the first librarian. On October 6, 1916 the dedication of the new (Carnegie) library was held. (Carnegie Building destroyed by fire in 1973)
Bloomfield 1908   1906 NELS Carnegie Building. Building now houses the Bloomfield Historical Society.
Bloomington   1918 1916 no date RVLS started as a project of Women's Club
Blue Hill     1929 RVLS  
Boelus     1925 MLS (Howard County)
Brady 2007     RVLS (Lincoln County)  opened July 2007
Bridgeport 1929 1922 1912 PLS  
Bristow     1936 NELS (Boyd County)
Broadwater     1936 PLS organized through the influence of local people
Broken Bow   1910? 1916   MLS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building now serves as a professional office building)
Bruning   1884     SELS  
Brunswick     1939 NELS organized by a group of citizens
Burwell 1912 1914 1912 MLS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building is now vacant)
Callaway 1931   1931 MLS  
Cambridge       RVLS  
Campbell     no date RVLS Started by Women's Club, Room, heat and light paid for by town.
Carleton     1922 SELS (Thayer County) - closed
Carroll   1906   1904 NELS  
Cedar Rapids   1914     NELS  
Center       NELS closed
Central City   1899   NELS  
Ceresco   1976     ELS  
Chadron 1918  1911   PLS Carnegie Building
Chappell 1920/1935   1920 PLS 1920 -Nesbit;
1935 Pollak
Chester     1920 SELS (Thayer County) / closed
Clarks   1919 1919   NELS Carnegie Building
Clarkson 1960     NELS Clarkson Public Library History
Clay Center   1910 1917   RVLS Carnegie Building
Clearwater       NELS  
Cody     1936 MLS (Cherry County), started by several enterprising ladies
College View SEE: Lincoln 1905? 1916     Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building is now used as a Union College Building)
Columbus   1878 1915 1901 NELS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building now serves as an office for insurance and law)
Bookmobile service offered
Cook 1936     SELS Mrs. Floyd Chases assisted in organizing this library along with the Women's Club
Comstock 1925     MLS  
Cozad 1917/1923     MLS Carnegie Building
1917 Nesbit; 1923 - Seavey
(Carnegie Building torn down sometime between 1991-1997)
Crab Orchard     1923 SELS (Johnson County)
Craig       ELS closed
Crawford   1912     PLS  
Creighton   1913   1913 NELS  
Crete   1878 1915   SELS Carnegie Building. Founded by the Red Ribbon Temperance club
Crofton   1927   1920 NELS  
Culbertson     1915 RVLS  
Curtis       RVLS  
Dakota City 1922/1928   1922 NELS 1922 - Nesbit;
1928 - Seavey
Dalton     1929 PLS (Cheyenne County), Mrs. J. W. Hardin President of the Women's Club was responsible for starting this library
Dannebrog       MLS  
Davenport 1921   1921 SELS  
David City 1891  1919   NELS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building now serves as a private residence)
Daykin       SELS  
Decatur     1936 ELS (Burt County)
Deshler 1951     SELS  
DeWitt 1902/1907     SELS Carnegie Building
1902 - Nesbit; 1907 - Seavey
(Carnegie Building collapsed in 1963)
Diller     1922 SELS  
Dodge     1930 ELS The dedication date of the John Rogers Memorial Library in Dodge is June 26, 1955.
Dorchester     1914 SELS  
Dwight       NELS  
Edgar     1927 RVLS closed
Elgin 1931   1928 NELS Library made possible through the efforts of members of the Presbyterian Church.
Elkhorn 1925   1936 ELS Library made possible largely through the efforts of Mrs. Rudolph.  Became a branch of Omaha Public Libraries in 2007.
Bess Johnson Elkhorn Branch
Elm Creek     1931 MLS  
Elmwood     1915 SELS  
Elwood 1918   1918 RVLS Rev. Sweeney organized this library
Emerson       NELS  
Eustis       RVLS Started by combining High School and Community Books.
Ewing       NELS  
Exeter 1936     SELS  
Fairbury 1900/1909     SELS Carnegie Building
1900 - Nesbit; 1909 founded in presented location, from the library
Fairfield   1914 1905 RVLS Carnegie Building. Original plans and construction started in 1903, doors opened
September 1909
Fairmont     1922 SELS  
Falls City 1902 1902   SELS  
Farnam 1943     MLS  
Franklin   1915 1915   RVLS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building now serves as an Art Gallery)
Fremont   1901 1903   ELS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building torn down mid '70s)
Friend   1909 1909 1909 SELS tax supported in 1915, first building given by Mrs. Gilbert
Fullerton   1911 1914 1914 NELS Carnegie Building
Geneva 1906 1912   SELS Carnegie Building
Genoa 1902/1911     NELS 1902 - Nesbit:
1911 - Seavey
Gering 1910      PLS  
Gibbon   1910 1913 1910 MLS Carnegie Building, started by a combined committee of the Women's Club and the Commercial Club
Carnegie Building torn down nearly 90 years after it was built to make way for the new library.
Giltner       SELS Sponsored by the Giltner Music Study Club, building donated by the Masonic Lodge
Gordon   1922   1922 PLS  
Gothenburg   1915 1916 1916 MLS Carnegie Building
Grand Island   1884 1905   MLS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building now serves as a law office)
Bookmobile service offered
Grant 1922   1919 RVLS  
Greeley     1937 MLS  
Greenwood 1976   1933 SELS housed in Union Bank
Gresham     1909 SELS  
Gretna     no date ELS started by a women's club
Guide Rock   1918 1918 RVLS  
Haigler     1928 RVLS (Dundy County)
Halsey     1928 MLS (Thomas County)
Hardy     1924 RVLS  
Harrison       PLS  
Hartington   1914 1916 1914 NELS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building now serves as an Art Gallery)
Harvard   1916 1916   RVLS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building house the library and the city clerk's office)
Hastings   1903 1904   RVLS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building demolished in late 1960)
Bookmobile service offered
Havelock SEE:  Lincoln 1907 1907     Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building  -Havelock location - demolished after 1971)
Hay Springs       PLS  
Hayes Center 1925     RVLS  
Heartwell     1926 RVLS (Kearney County)
Hebron   1922   SELS  
Hemingford     1923 PLS  
Herman     1912 ELS (Washington County)
Hildreth 1975     RVLS  
Homer     1936 NELS (Dakota County)
Holdrege   1895 1907   RVLS Carnegie Building
Hooper   1913   1913 ELS  
Howells 1926   1911 NELS  
Hubbell     1927 SELS (Thayer County)
Humboldt   1884   1884 SELS Began organizing 23 Feb 1884 and opened for business 16 May 1884
Humphrey       NELS  
Hyannis     1930 PLS  
Imperial 1931   1927 RVLS Started by the FWC - American Legion
Indianola 1940     RVLS Legion gave the free use of a room, Legion Auxiliary fitted it for the use of library, Boy Scouts also assisted in collecting books.
Inman       NELS closed
Jansen     1924 SELS (Jefferson County)
Kearney   1890 1905   MLS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building demolished 1973)
Bookmobile service offered
Kimball 1919/1924     PLS 1919 - Nesbit:
1924 - Seavey
Laurel   1909   1909 NELS  
LaVista   1974     ELS First library building was located at 8116 Park View Blvd. The new building constructed in 1999 is a joint library with Metro Community College.
Leigh 1921   1922 NELS  
Lewellen       PLS  
Lexington   1919 1919   MLS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building now serves as a Law Office)
Lexington Clipper-Herald Story
Lincoln   1875 1902 - Main Library; 1909 NE Branch; 1910 - Havelock, College View and University Place Branches   ULS officially incorporated as a city-owned, tax-supported institution in 1877.

Carnegie-assisted buildings in Lincoln total five:
Old Main - now Bennett Martin, (Old Main Carnegie Building demolished about 1960.) The former Northeast Branch Carnegie Library now houses Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach located on North 27th Street. Carnegie grants were also secured by the towns of Havelock, University Place and College View. When these towns were annexed by the city of Lincoln, their libraries became part of the Lincoln City Library system, bringing the number of Carnegie-assisted buildings in Lincoln to five.

Bookmobile service offered
Lindsay     1936 NELS (Platte County)
Lisco       PLS closed
Litchfield     1929 MLS organized inside the school
Lodgepole     1930 PLS  
Long Pine     1921 MLS  
Louisville 1901/1917     SELS 1901 - Nesbit:1917 - Seavey
Loup City   1917 1917   MLS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building now owned and occupied by a software company)
Lushton     1926 SELS (York County)
Lyman       PLS  
Lyons 1926   1926 ELS Library started in 1926 according to  Edward McMonies, a long time Library Board member whose mother was one of the individuals promoting the concept and showing need for a library. The original board members of the Women's Club took turns as librarian. The first official librarian was hired January 1942 when the city passed ordinance #16 -from Mary Fritts, 2004.
Madison 1907/1910 1913 1907 NELS Carnegie Building
1907 - Nesbit: 1910 - Seavey
(Carnegie Building now serves as Carnegie Learning Center as directed by the Madison County Historical Society)
Madrid     1929 RVLS (Perkins County) Mrs. F. A. Long was largely instrumental in leading the club women to organize a public library
Mason City       MLS  
Maxwell     1927 RVLS assisted by the American Legion Auxiliary  (Lincoln County)
McCook 1902  1908   RVLS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building now serves as High Plains Historical Society Museum)
Mead 1941     ELS  
Meadow Grove       NELS  
Merna   1916   MLS  
Merriman 1927   1927 MLS started by the PTA
Milford     1930 SELS organized by a committee of citizens
Milligan       SELS  
Minatare     1930 PLS  
Minden   1907   1907 RVLS  
Mitchell   1916     PLS  
Morrill   1917 1917 PLS started by the Twentieth Century Club
Mullen 1930     MLS  
Naper   2012   NELS  
Nebraska City   1896   SELS started by Joy Morton of Arbor Lodge
Nehawka     1928 SELS (Cass County)
Neligh   1904 1911   NELS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building now serves as a community resource center)
Nelson 1896     RVLS  
Newman Grove   1923   1923 NELS  
Niobrara 1971     NELS  
Nora     1935 RVLS (Nuckolls County)
Norfolk   1908 1910   NELS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building was purchased by a planning and engineering firm)
North Bend 1908/1910   1908 ELS Carnegie Building purchased in September 2012 by Jim Kruger.

1908 - Nesbit; 1910 - Seavey New library opened 2012.
North Loup     1925 MLS sponsored by the No Lo and Fortnightly Clubs
North Platte 1911  1913   RVLS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building now serves as a Children’s Museum)
O'Neill   1912 1913   NELS Carnegie Building
Oakdale 1929   1925 NELS  
Oakland 1914/1916   1920 ELS 1914 - Seavey:
1916 - Nesbit
Ogallala     1926 PLS sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary
Omaha 1877      ULS History of Branches
Bess Johnson Elkhorn Branch
South Omaha Branch (Carnegie Building) torn down 1953
Bookmobile service offered
Orchard       NELS  
Ord 1922     MLS  
Orleans   1917   RVLS  
Osceola   1906   1901 NELS  
Oshkosh 1921     PLS  
Osmond 1937     NELS  
Overton       MLS  
Oxford       RVLS  
Palisade 1966     RVLS  
Palmyra   1921   1911 SELS  
Papillion   1921   yes- no date ELS  
Pawnee City   1904/1907   1904 SELS Carnegie Building, designed by John P. Eisentraut
1904 - Nesbit; 1907 from the library
Paxton 1932     PLS  
Pender 1904   1904 NELS  
Pierce   1908 1912 1907 NELS Carnegie Building, sponsored by the WCTU Association
(Carnegie Building was moved from original location and is now vacant)
Pilger       NELS  
Plainview 1908/1917 1916 1908 NELS Carnegie Building
1908 - Nesbit; 1917 Seavey
Platte Center     1932 NELS (Platte County)
Plattsmouth   1886 1916   SELS Carnegie Building
Plymouth       SELS  
Polk 1913   1911 NELS started by the Culture Club of Polk
Ponca 1910/1913   1909 NELS Carnegie Building
1910 - Nesbit; 1913 - Seavey
organized by business people
Potter     1921 PLS  
Primrose     1935 NELS started by the Epworth League
Ralston   1922   1931 ELS 1922 (in a business)
1924 (by the city)
Randolph   1918 1917 1918 NELS Carnegie Building, started by the citizens of Randolph
Ravenna   1918 1918 1918 MLS Carnegie Building, started by interested citizens
Red Cloud   1918 1918 RVLS  
Republican City     1924 RVLS (Harlan County), Organized through the efforts of Mrs. Oalcott
Rising City       NELS  
Royal       NELS closed
Rushville 1921     PLS original building now a private house.
Ruskin     1927 RVLS closed
St. Edward 1925 1925 1925 NELS Started by the Delphians
St. Paul 1953     MLS  
Sargent   1921 1918 MLS  
Schuyler   1909 1911   NELS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building is now vacant)
Scotia 1927     MLS supported by the Scotia Women's Club
Scottsbluff   1917 1921   PLS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building is now serving as the  Western Nebraska Art Center)
Scribner   1900/1902   1900 ELS 1900 - Nesbit; 1902 from the library. started with efforts of Charles Arnott and a committee
Seward   1890 1914   SELS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building was sold 11/2003)
Shelby     1927 NELS  
Shelton   1907 1914   MLS Carnegie Building
Shickley 1923   1923 SELS  
Shubert       SELS  
Sidney 1915/1917 1917   PLS Carnegie Building
1915 - Seavey; 1917 Nesbit
(Carnegie Building now serves as the Cheyenne County Chamber of Commerce)
Bookmobile service offered
Silver Creek 1918     NELS organized by Charles Wooster
Snyder   1936     ELS started by the PTA
South Omaha SEE: Omaha 1904?       Carnegie Building - no year
(Carnegie Building - South Omaha Branch torn down)
South Sioux City       NELS  
Spalding 1911     MLS  
Spencer 1915/1916 1916/1917 1914 NELS Carnegie Building, started by the B. K. Girls, an organization of young ladies
1915 - Seavey; 1916 - Nesbit
Springfield 1926   1929 ELS May of 1928, the town board voted a mill levy for the maintenance of the Library
Springview       MLS  
Stanton   1915 1915   NELS Carnegie Building, started by interested citizens
Stapleton 1939     RVLS  
Sterling   1904     SELS  
Strang       SELS closed
Stratton     1923 RVLS  
Stromsburg   1918 1916   NELS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie Building is now privately owned no definite plans)
Stuart 1948   1922 NELS Organized by the Lions Club,
1948 - Seavey
Superior   1884 1908   RVLS Carnegie Building
(Carnegie building now houses businesses)
Designed by the Chicago architectural firm of Patton & Miller
Sutherland       RVLS  
Sutton 1907/1908 1910   RVLS Carnegie Building
1907 - Seavey; 1908 Nesbit
(Carnegie Building torn down in 1969)
Swanton     1888 SELS (Saline County), Twelve charter members of the Ladies' Library Society led by Mrs.. Rubleman and Miss Mulitz started a library in 1888
Syracuse 1901/1907   1909 SELS 1901 Nesbit:
1907 -Seavey
Table Rock   1917 no date SELS started by a Women's Club
Talmage   1904     SELS  
Taylor 1962     MLS  
Tecumseh   1887 1907   SELS Carnegie Building, designed by John P. Eisentraut
(Carnegie Building now serves as Eloise’s Fashion and Dollar Store)
Tekamah   1916 1915/1916   ELS Carnegie Building, started by a group of citizens with a Lied Building Expansion.
Thedford       MLS  
Tilden   1922   1922 NELS  
Tobias     1928 SELS Mrs. S. L. Muman with the aid of her Sunday School class started a library in the church basement
Trenton 1923   1923 RVLS  
Ulysses   1916   1915 NELS  
University Place SEE: Lincoln 1916 1916     Carnegie Building
(University Place Carnegie Building now serves as an office for M.E. Group Inc. engineers and consultants)
Valentine     1921 MLS Started by the P.E.O. Organization. Taken over by the city in November 1935
Bookmobile service offered
Valley   1902   yes - no date ELS  
Valparaiso 1916   1917 ELS  
Verdigre 1952     NELS  
Wahoo   1923   1923 ELS founded April 23, 1923, by the Wahoo Women's Club - from the library
Wakefield   1902 1902 NELS  
Walthill 1922/1935   1920 NELS 1922 Nesbit:
1935 Seavey
Waterloo 1973     ELS  
Wauneta 1960   1931 RVLS  
Wausa 1935   1920 NELS Started by the PTA in 1920;
1935 - Pollak
Wayne 1902 1913   NELS Carnegie Building. Funded by volunteers and donations until 1910 when the city assumed
responsibility and appointed the first library board in April of that year. - from the library
(Carnegie Building now serves as a  church youth center)
Designed by the Chicago architectural firm of Patton & Miller
Weeping Water   1917   SELS  
West Point 1917 1916   ELS Started by the Girls Culture Club
Western 1922   1922 SELS  
Wilber   1968     SELS  
Wilcox       RVLS  
Wilsonville 1947   no date RVLS Started by a Women's Club
Winnebago       NELS  
Winside   1911   1911 NELS  
Wisner 1903   1903 ELS Started by a Women's Club in July 1903. Prior to that date, The State Librarian's Supervision served the community
Wolbach 1925     MLS closed
Wood River   1906 1906 MLS  
Wymore1917 1919   SELS Carnegie Building
York1894 1902 1885 SELS city funding began 1894, building opened 1902.  Old library now houses CPA firm.
Yutan1966     ELS April 11, 1966, from Thelma Anderson, librarian

Carnegie Libraries information taken from A State of Readers:  Nebraska's Carnegie Libraries by Pollak: "Nebraska received $720,000 for sixty-nine libraries built between 1901-1922. Fifty-eight are still standing, of which twenty-six are still libraries."

Systems: ELS = Eastern Library System; MLS = Meridian Library System; NELS = Northeast Library System; PLS = Panhandle Library System; RVLS = Republican Valley Library System; and SELS = Southeast Library System. Nebraska Regional Library Systems

Nesbit, Marguerite, Nebraska and Carnegie Libraries (typescript, 1930)

Galbraith, Mrs. F. R. Supplemental History of Libraries Sponsored or assisted by Women's Clubs.
Ainsworth, NE State Chairman Library Service N.F.W.C. 1935-1937

Pollak, Oliver B.  A State of Readers: Nebraska's Carnegie Libraries. J. & L. Lee Publishers. 2005

Seavey, Charley - notes provided from research conducted at the Nebraska Library Commission

Carnegie Libraries in Nebraska photographs of Nebraska's Carnegie libraries