Personal tools

You are here: Home / Use Our Library / History

Clinton Public Library History

Read how this library was established and how it has evolved to become such an important part of our community.

MAIN BRANCH 306 8th Avenue S.


At the turn of the 20th century, the desire for a free public library in Clinton was growing. Andrew Carnegie was providing funds for libraries across the country and the citizens of Clinton hoped that they too would benefit from his generosity. On May 15, 1901, Mayor George D. McDaid wrote to Carnegie requesting funds for the library building. Mr. Carnegie responded with a sum of $30,000.  After brief negotiations, this was increased to $45,000 with the provision that the citizens provide an acceptable site and annual operating budget of not less then 10% of the stipend.

After the voters approved the establishment of a free public library on March 31, 1902, the library organization ordinance was passed by the City Council at its regular meeting on May 13, 1902. On May 23, 1902, Mayor E. A. Hughes' nominees to the first Library Board of Trustees were approved by City Council. The land where the library is currently located was donated to the city by Emma Lamb Young. Ground was broken on June 24, 1903 and construction was completed one year later in June 1904. The day Theodore Roosevelt was elected to his second term, the library opened its doors to the public for the grand showing. On November 9, the library allowed the public to check out books. The library was open for 18 days in the month of November and 5,440 books were checked out. The next month showed that the library was open 26 1/2 days and 6,993 books were checked out.

At the end of 1904, there were 8,851 books, 31 magazine titles and 2,862 registered borrowers. Today the library has over 100,000 books, 325 magazines and over 2,500 different titles and types of non-print materials for over 15,000 registered borrowers. November 9, 2014 will mark 110 years of change and 110 years of serving the citizens of Clinton, Iowa and the surrounding area. The library belongs to the people of Clinton, created and supported by them and something that is a source of pride to the city of Clinton, Iowa.

LYONS BRANCH 105 Main Avenue

Lyons Branch

Library service in the Lyons area had its beginning in 1858 with the Lyons Lyceum and then in 1864 with the Lyons Young Men’s Library Association.
With the motto “Amusement our means – instruction our end” the L.Y.M.A. collected dues to cover operating expenses. Books were both donated and purchased, and the library was opened to the public in October 1864. The library was moved to several locations on Main Avenue from 1864 until 1948 when it was placed under the supervision of the Clinton Public Library Board.

In the spring of 1926 a committee from Lyons petitioned for library service. On May 1, 1926 a Lyons Branch of the Clinton Public Library was opened to the public in a room over the Post Office. In 1929 the location was changed to 74 Main Avenue where it remained until January 1955. On February 15, 1955 the current location of the Lyons Branch was opened. The present site and initial contribution of construction funds (one third the total cost) were gifts made to the City of Clinton for the Lyons Branch Library by the Lyons Young Men’s Association (1864 – 1952).