The Grangeville Public Library was started by a group of literary-minded women, who were organized as a women’s club, in 1899.
They became interested in civic improvements and established a reading room with a few donated books for out of town visitors. It was only open a few hours a week and a local woman volunteered to care for the books. More books came in and they decided they needed a larger place.
The Knights of Pythias loaned them a room in their building which later burned and the women found themselves with the beginning of a small library. Mrs. Shirlie Fenn of Kooskia was asked to catalog the books and set up the Dewey Decimal System. Charges were made for loan cards.
In 1935, the group, now calling themselves Women’s Community Club, held a number of fund raisers to raise funds for books. That same year a new city hall was built and the Community Club Library was invited to move into a room there. They now had a few hundred bookss, were open three afternoons a week, and had a cirulation of 500 books a year.
In 1943, Marion O. Holt became the librarian (with training from Librarian Florence Reilly) and the public library was well under way.
In 1947, the board asked for help from the city and they responded with $500.00 a year.
In 1950, the board asked for help again and was granted a 1.5 mil levy on assessed valuation. This was enough to provide a free library serving anyone in the area. The library was now open six days a week with a circulation of 10,000 books a year.
The Centennial Library Team was organized in 1962 to raise funds for a new library building. Appointed by Mayor George Klein, members were: Mrs. Joseph Montell, Mrs. Howard Higgins, Librarian Marion Holt, Mr. Jack Heartburg, Mrs. Burt Morris, Mrs. John W. Spencer, and Councilman Harold Smith. Through the hard work of this dedicated group the Centennial Library opened for business in their current location on Feb 6, 1964 with an annual circulation of 15,000.
Marion Holt retired in 1970 and was replaced by Alda Coffman. She was followed by Patty Bolton and Susan Wright. The librarian position became a job-shared position staffed by Linda Ruthruff and Linda Hicks in July 1981. Linda Ruthruff also shared the position with Jean Griffith and Karrylle Curnes until 1994 when she was named Director and Margy Pelham was hired as Assistant Librarian. Linda Ruthruff, Director, retired in October, 2009 with 28 years of service and was replaced by Edie Lustig. Debbie Urquhart became the Assistant Librarian in 2010 when Margy retired. Edie was the Library Director until Fall 2012 when Rebekah Hosman became the Library Director. Becky served for over three years adding community programs such as Writing Club, Drama Club/Reader’s Theater, Teen Coffee Club, and updating, reenergizing programs such as summer reading, Family Read Week, and Teen Read Week. Becky’s time as director came to an end in December 2015. In January of 2016 Jamie Everson became the new Library Director. She and Assistant Librarian Ellissa Crowl brought valuable leadership to the Summer Reading program. Jamie’s time as Director came to an end in the fall of 2016, and Ellissa became the new library director. Michelle Waite became the new Assistant Librarian, and after Ellissa resigned, Angela Norman became the current Library Director.
The library became part of the VALNet Consortium, a group of libraries located between Riggins and Moscow and its branches, in 2003. They share an online catalog for public access and also share materials freely between libraries. The consortium began interlibrary loan with libraries in north Idaho under the Washington-Idaho Network umbrella in 2008. Materials are shipped by courier at no cost to the patrons. We also have Overdrive online system available through VALNet to get e-books and audiobooks. VALNet currently has 53 libraries in the consortium.
The library received a grant that allowed them Internet access in 1995 and another grant in 2012 that helped bring our current public computer count up to 9! Our circulation system was automated in 1998. We are currently open five days a week from 10-6 and on Saturdays from 10-2.