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Mar 12

Northeast Kansas Library System Newsletters, 1966-2001

Posted on March 12, 2020 at 8:48 AM by Bill Sowers


In the months to come BROADSIDE will keep you informed on the progress of the NEKL planning project.We'll be reporting on happenings in the area such as workshops, book rotations~ etc., as well as news of other planning grants and systems in the state."

This paragraph began a 35 year span of Northeast Kansas Library System newsletters which are now online at the State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library (1966-2001). The first newsletters were titled, Broadside... a cool name.

This first issue of Broadside, August 1966, included information on a recent assembly luncheon for the new system with the Lawrence Public Library director, Wayne Mayo, serving as administrative librarian of NEKLS.

A system executive board had also been elected consisting of these members:

Earl Means - Everest
Mrs. Robert Reid - Rossville
Mrs. Donald Coughlin - Wellsville
Wayne Starr - Hiawatha
Mrs. Jane Snyder - Leavenworth
Dr. A. - Wymore - Osawatomie
Mrs. William Blair - Atchison
Mrs. Raymond Crews - Lawrence
Mrs. Betty Mercer - Merriam
Mrs. Louise Barker - Oskaloosa

Leo Hack had been hired as the first Library System consultant and he was preparing to visit libraries. At present the planning program was to be referred to as Northeast Kansas Libraries. Workshops were being planned, book funds were available for member libraries, and publicity was underway to promote the fledgling organization. Excitement was definitely in the air in northeast Kansas.

What we have here in this collection, much like the other Library System newsletters archived in KGI (Northwest, South Central and Southwest Kansas Library Systems), is a history of library cooperation in Kansas among libraries in the 14 county region (Atchison, Doniphan, Douglas, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami, Nemaha, Osage, Shawnee, and Wyandotte Counties). Good times and hard times in library services, programs and funding are chronicled in these issues. The newsletters also serve as a wonderful social history of libraries' staffs and patrons. Births, deaths, marriages, open houses, summer reading programs and other day-to-day experiences of library members are recorded along with articles on state and nationwide issues within local, state and national library communities.

Many thanks go to Dan Alexander, NEKLS consutant, for scanning these newsletters and sharing the collection with us for inclusion in KGI. We'd also like to thank NEKLS director, Laura DeBaun, for suggesting that we contact Dan. Added thanks go to Rita Troxel here at the State Library of Kansas, who indexed the newsletters and edited them to fit them into files which would load (hopefully!) in an easy manner for folks who will look through them.

You can view the Northeast Kansas Library System newsletter collection online here: