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LA HARPE PUBLIC LIBRARY, 209 E Main Street, La Harpe

The beautiful La Harpe Carnegie Public Library was built in 1905. In addition to the support of local benefactors, the library received a donation from industrialist Andrew Carnegie.

Efforts to establish a library in La Harpe date back to the 1850's, when approximately 100 books were purchased and placed in one of the local homes.

However this idea did not work out. In 1870 books were placed in the office of Dr. Butler for circulation, but this too was unsuccessful. In the 1890's another effort was made, this time by the La Harpe Women's Club.

They established the La Harpe Library Association. This group acquired a collection of books for circulation and had them placed first in the home of Ada Shaw.

The books were then moved to the Peyron Room at Johnny's Tavern and finally to the City Hall.

Mrs. Florence Hungate, President of La Harpe Women's Club, also known later as the Outlook Club, supported the cause of building a library for La Harpe. She raised funds from local patrons and also from Andrew Carnegie who donated $5,000.

The site chosen, next to La Harpe's City Hall was purchased and buildings already on that location were torn down.

George Otto drew up the plans and served as engineer throughout the project. He donated his services. The contractor was Asa Bennington and Fowler and Wilson laid the stone foundation and built the steps and the walk. The overall cost of the construction was $5,530.00. Ground was broken for the construction on August 1, 1905 and the cornerstone was laid on September 25, 1905. 905.

The name given to the new library was the La Harpe Carnegie Public Library.

The current Library Board consists of Martha Gillett, Margaret Webster, Steve Jones, Lorena Hunter, Mark Mathew, Leslie Fisher and Kathy Kendall.

Current library staff includes Library Director Monica McClure, assistant librarian Lauren Wascher and library clerks Brittni Finley, and Claire Finch.

In addition to the usual books, papers and magazines, moving into the 21st century the library also provides computer and Internet access with WIFI, e-books. Local newspapers from 1875 are also available on microfilm. Other services provided include access to books through inter-library loan and use of copy and fax machines.

Cost of copies are 25 cents per page for black and white copies and 50 cents a page for color copies. Cost for using fax services are Outgoing faxes cost $1 for the first 5 pages and 25 cents for further pages. Incoming faxes are 25 cents per page.

Hours for the library are: Monday and Tuesday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The library is closed on Friday and Sunday.

Residents of Hancock County and the local school district are eligible to use library services. Non-residents are required to pay a yearly fee of $73 for usage

Visit the library's web-page at