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Jul 21

Establishing a Regional Library in Pottawatomie and Wabaunsee Counties in the 1960s

Posted on July 21, 2021 at 11:23 AM by Bill Sowers

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Establishing a Regional Library in Pottawatomie and Wabaunsee Counties in the 1960s

Available online at the State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library... An award winning scrapbook giving a history of the founding of the Pottawatomie Wabaunsee Regional Library in the early 1960s.  

This book is a detailed chronology with photos, pictures, letters, news stories, promotional material, etc.  You get a good idea what the term, grassroots, means looking through this volume as people throughout Pottawatomie County and Wabaunsee County came together with assistance from the Kansas Traveling Libraries Commission to promote, establish and rally for tax support of a regional library in a local election.  This was long before the Internet age. There was no slick ad campaign. Posters and bookmarks were handmade. Organizations, citizens committees, churches, schools, newspapers and just regular folks pitched in. The end result was a stunning victory for the Regional Library in the November 1963 special election.

Scrolling through the Scrapbook you'll see photos of Girl Scouts learning how to run a storytime, the operations of bookmobiles in a rural setting, various branch libraries throughout the region, and many diligent library workers and volunteers serving the needs of fellow Kansans.  It truly is an amazing look at libraries in action almost 60 years ago.

The Scrapbook was submitted to the American Library Association and received the "John Cotton Dana Publicity Award for Outstanding Publicity During 1962 Among State Libraries" for an imaginative publicity program used in a campaign to bring to a successful popular vote a public library demonstration in two rural counties in Kansas.

WORD OF WARNING!!!  Because of the graphics and the brown paper background the digitized scrapbook is HUGE.  We've split it into five parts and even had to split some of the parts into sub-parts.  Even then it takes a while to load and scrolling can be frustrating at times.  Patience is definitely a virtue when looking through this book... but oh so very rewarding!

You can view the Scrapbook (in its many parts) online at:

Developing a Regional Library in Kansas [1963]

While you're at it take a look at the Pottawatomie Wabaunsee Regional Library today!  Here's a link to the Library's website

Pottawatomie Wabaunsee Regional Library