The Fossil Library Association was incorporated March 6, 1916, with Lyle Walls, Ella N. Angell and Mae Withermuth as trustees. At this time, they had $40. With “sources of revenue and income“ to be from membership fees, dues, and donations.
There were 21 members in 1921. Over the years, through to 1921, membership grew. The first librarian seems to be Louis Hoffman. With Mrs. Ruby Steiwer helping in the summer months. Librarians seemed hard to keep, having four librarians in 1918. Nellie Don was the main librarian in 1919 assisted by Laura Simmons. In the following years a string of woman. were librarians until in 1946 when Mrs. Maude Evans became the librarian and remained until 1983. At that time, she was 87 years old.
Funds were raised through fees and dues, also by a dance, minstrel show, a tea given by Mrs. Angell on her lawn, Halloween Dances and cooked food wash sold.
Considerable work was done on the library in 1918 as $181.27 was paid for “incidentals” including lights, gas, chairs, books, shelves, carpenter work, varnish pain, shellac inks, pastes, wood, ax, stationery, stamps, letter file, box ren, cleaning library, card tray, book support, keys, brushes.
Visitors to the library in 1919 number 2,015 and there were 1,493 loans for books and periodicals. Magazines subscribed to them were: American Boy. Life, St. Nicholas, House Beautiful, Harpers, Popular Mechanic, Atlantic Monthly, and Literary Digest.
On February 14, 1921 H.H. Hendricks presented a petition to the city council of Fossil, signed by 95 people for the city to take over funding of the library. The council voted the “petitioners request be granted” and it was signed March 14, 1921. Thus, it became the Fossil Public Library.
The library was originally in the City Hall council chambers at the present city hall sit at main and Broadway way streets. When the new city hall building was constructed in 1960, separate rooms were provided for the library and city council. Also, a garage for the fire truck and ambulances. Shelves were built and installed in 1965.
This information was taken directly from The History of Wheeler County Oregon. Copyright 1983.
The credit for this research and information goes to Janet L. and Mclaren E. Stinchfield
Owners, at the time, of the Times-Journal.