La Crosse library turns 75


La CROSSE -- The Barnard Library, named after Howard Barnard, a La Crosse educator, is having a birthday.

Completed in 1937, the library is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

Rosie Dryer, who served as assistant librarian until her retirement in April, is coordinating the event.

Dryer has been researching Barnard and his contribution to education and the town.

Much of her information comes from the book, "Yankee on the Prairie," by Allan R. Miller, she said.

Barnard was librarian at La Crosse High School and founded the short-lived Entre Nous College in McCracken.

The library was built by the La Crosse board of education and the Works Progress Administration, according to a plaque on the library.

However, Barnard donated many of the books and served as its head librarian. He died in 1948.

"He was a strict librarian," Dryer said.

He passed notes in the library instead of talking, but libraries no longer are silent reading halls.

"Computers changed them into a social place," said Linda Seymour, librarian.

The library has five computers for patrons' use, and they are "busy all the time," she said.

The library has a collection of approximately 13,000 to 14,000 materials, said Seymour, who's been there for more than 10 years.

In addition to the computers, the library offers free wireless access for those with laptops, a copy machine and fax machine.

It's a township library and is supported financially by the La Crosse-Brookdale Township, not the city. It also receives funding from the Central Kansas Library System.

Including Seymour, there are three employees, and they host a story hour for children ages 3 to kindergarten and a summer reading program.

Two events are planned to mark the library's anniversary -- a quilt show beginning July 2 and an open house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 14.

"It's just a pleasure to learn all this information," Dryer said.