Gary City Library
1113 Summit St, Gary, SD 57237
Vera Meyer, Librarian
Tuesday: 10:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Friday: 2:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Historically, the Gary City Library goes back to the 1920’s and even earlier in an informal fashion, by books being on loan in a home and different business places. The Study Club, made up of some of the lady citizens, operated the library. For some dedicated homemakers this task was a labor of love and brought the cultural level of the city to its heights. Through the years the responsibility stayed within the hands of a few farsighted, good intentioned individuals. With their deaths and the dissolutions of the Study Club, the loss of the help of the American Legion Auxiliary, the operation of the library fell wholly on the City.
In 1923, one of the urgent community’s needs presented was the necessity for more reading material for both young and old. A community library and a school library were obtained from the Free Commission at Pierre for public use during the winter months. The two libraries, found at the home of Mrs. Humbert, loaned books to anyone wishing to use them. There also was a table of magazines where patrons could bring their periodicals for exchange.
Later in the 1920’s, the library was located in the front part of Youman’s Lumber Co. Building. The city paid the librarian, Youman’s furnished the building, and Legion Auxiliary sponsored the library. It was located there for some years until Youman’s needed the space for a workshop.
Next, the library found a home at the Nelson Bakery, owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Pete Nelson. At that time, the Study Club sponsored the library and Mrs. Nelson was hired as the librarian. The Members of the Study Club assisted her when she called upon them to keep the library open on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
In 1945, a 22’ X 45’ cement block building, later known as the Golden Nugget, was built and the library was moved into this building. The city furnished shelves for the books and $100 was given each year with which to purchase new books. In April of 1947, the Study Club secured the services of Miss Vognild of Pierre who catalogued the library and taught the members how to accession books. All the books then on the shelves were accessioned by February 16, 1948. Mrs. Rose Kunow was the first librarian in the new community building.
On April 11, 1974, the Gary City Library closed. All books and publications were transferred to the Independent School District #1 of Gary to be operated with the school library, however, many concerned citizens did not approve of the move. With the able help of Irene Mews Heaton, then the Deuel County Extension Agent, a campaign was started to return the city library back downtown. A petition was circulated with favorable results and in the pursuing election of November 1974, the vote was 81 to 55 in favor of the library’s return to main street. The Mason’s Lodge Building was rejuvenated by their organization and by the help of the Green Thumb program. Mrs. Edna Hinsvark, working under the Green Thumb program became the new librarian.
In April of 1981, the library again made a move. All materials were transferred to the new city building.
The above material was taken from the 75th anniversary book of the Gary Library.
In looking over the past history of the library it is noted that in 1976 the library had 4,998 volumes owned with a circulation with 791 books. In 2006 the library owned 13,328 volumes and the circulation was 3091.
It was also noted that between the years 1976 to 2006 the hours open to the public ranged from 32 hours per week to 6 hours per week. Presently the library is open 12 hours per week.
The Library moved to the remodeled location next to the City Hall in 2003.
Librarians following Edna Hinsvark were Donna Ochsendorf, Ellen Schulte, Gertrude Baer from 1987 to fall 2004 when Vera Meyer, the present librarian, started working.