The Ellsworth Library


the old 1935 library

The Ellsworth Public Library was started in September, 1935 as a project of the Women’s Study Club.  It was started on a small scale with the members and friends donating books.  In 1936, the Library was located in the Mrs. Nellie Olson building on the east side of Main Street.  From then on the library grew with the help of friends and many local organizations.  In 1941, the growth was such that the members of the Study Club asked the town of Ellsworth to take it over and a tax was levied for it's support.

1962 library

New library under construction

The Library now is housed in a modern building that was constructed across from the old library.  This was built in 1962 with the cost of approximately $16,000.  Each year's budget is submitted to the town and money is appropriated for this.  Something new is added each year, and many organizations have helped with gifts.  There also have been many Memorial Gifts to the Library.  The Library has about 3000 books on the shelves and 20 magazines, encyclopedias, reference books and material.  It is also associated with the North Iowa Library Extension and 700 books are received every four months on a rotating basis.  There is also an art print program which is made up of reproductions of famous paintings.  These prints are checked out like books and are ready to hang on the walls of homes for a period of 30 days.  Different prints are brought here every four months.  The Library is used by people in the surrounding territory - Radcliffe, Randall and Jewell.

Much credit is given to Mrs. George (Leslie) A. Hanson  who helped with the Library from the beginning, and served as Librarian from the start until 1956, when she moved away.  Mrs. Merle (Selma) Shade who had been assistant took over and served until September 1, 1973.  Mrs. Shade had helped in the Library from the first and served 36 years, until her retirement.  Mrs. Harold (Melva) Sogard was appointed Librarian and assumed her duties on September 1, 1973.  After her death in 1974, Mrs. Mark (Jan) Sandvig was appointed by the board June 1, 1974 and as of 1979, is still in that position.  The present board is comprised of the following:  Mrs. Vernon (Jerry) Peterson, chairman; Mrs. Raymond (Marion) Skarvedt, secretary; Mrs. Ernest (Ilene) Johnson, treasurer; Mrs. Blanche Risetter and Mrs. Roger (Pat) Volkmann.  Past Board members were Esther Mansager and Mrs. Fred (Sharon) Cook.  As of 1979, there are over 10,000 books in the Library, a new movie projector, slide projector, screen and tape players (cassette).  Items added recently are cassette tapes for children and adults and cassette language courses.  Also, art prints to be kept at the Ellsworth Library permanently have been added.

The Library is still funded by the town and since 1978 the county shares funds.  Thanks to the additional funds, audio visual equipment, new art prints, a new lit globe and many more books are available to the public.  The Library also purchases movie services from the Kendall Young Library each year to help get a better selection of movies for the patrons.  The Library is still affliated with North Central Library System and is able to get many interlibrary loans through them.  The service of rotation of books was discontinued in 1975.  The Librarian was able to go to Mason City and pick out over 3000 books and 15 art prints to keep in this Library permanently.  This was a share each participating Library in the region was allowed to take.  In March of 1979, the Library was given a new look with pale gold paint on the walls and brown, copper and gold carpeting through out every room.  With new storage cabinets, it looks much different than it did before.  Each summer there is a children's reading program sponsored by the State Library  in Des Moines.  The Ellsworth Library has steadily improved on material and attendance.

1994 Art Show in the Library

click to enlarge

This shows someone coming out of the Ellsworth Library.
If you don't need to check out a book, can you check out a canoe?

When Sara Spohnheimer was ready to finish her senior year at South Hamilton High School, she had her senior art show in the Ellsworth Library.  She displayed much of her art work there, including this canoe, because she had painted an image on one side.  Because the canoe was named her dad's Colorado Scorpion, she had painted a scorpion near the front on one side.

The following new article was published on April 29, 2009:


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