A History of the Library
The first library in Aplington was started by the Woman's Club in 1939, and was located on the front porch of the home of a club member, Mrs. Kathryn Popkes. Books and shelves were donated, but most of the books came from the State Traveling Library. The library was operated by volunteers from the Woman's Club. In 1940 the City of Aplington took over the operation of the library, appropriating money and appointing a library board to oversee its operation. It was then relocated to the upper story of the Aplington News building, which was located west of our present site. That building was sold in 1954, and the library was then moved to the rear of the bank building just north of our present site.
In 1961 the American Legion Post donated their building to the City of Aplington. The building was remodeled and the library was moved to its present site the following year. Since that time it has been known as the Aplingon Legion Memorial Public Library. The building was again remodeled in the early 70's to update it and convert a room at the back into a children's section.
In 1998 the adjacent building that housed City Hall and the Community Center was condemned and plans for a library expansion and a new Community Center were begun. A Finance Committee was formed to raise funds and Craig Schwerdtfeger of Struxture Architects of Waterloo was hired to begin making plans. After enough funds had been raised to let bids the project was brought before the City Council. Ramker Construction submitted the lowest bid and it was accepted by the Council.
In September of 1999 the library was temporarily relocated to the back room of the AmVet Building and in October demolition of the condemned building was begun. The construction and remodeling of the library were completed by July of 2000 and moving took place. Harken Lumber began the construction of the Community Center in August of 2000, and it was completed in November. Volunteers helped with the finishing of the woodwork and the painting of the walls.
The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Grand Opening for the library and Community Center was held on Saturday, November 18, 2000. Speakers at the event were Mayor Bob Boelman, State Children's Librarian Mary Cameron, Kathy Houston of the Building Committee, Marilyn Klooster of the Finance Committee, and Library Director Nancy Huisman. Because the facility is now handicapped accessible and because other criteria were met, it was possible to attain the status of being a fully accredited library in 2001. At present this status continues to be attained, as required by the Iowa State Library, every three years.
Circulation has steadily increased since the addition and remodeling have taken place. Many library programs and activities have been added or expanded. Friends of the Library, an organization that promotes and financially assists the library was formed in 2001. An adult book club was started and programs for children have been expanded. There are presently eight computers with access to the Internet available for patrons' use. Classes are being offered on learning to use a computer. DVD's, CD's, and CD-Roms are available for checkout.
Interested in more history? Check out the Iowa Historical Society.