Chapter 3

Decade of Change

by Gene Grell


The Dallas County libraries started a County Book rotation for a two year period.  The County’s share of the book cost was $250 to be matched by the Woodward Library in order to purchase $500 worth of books.  The County’s funding for our Library increased to $1,329 in 1981.

To additional shelves for the increasing number of books, two tables for the meeting room, and a new librarian’s chair were purchased.  A fire proof safe was purchased from Montgomery Ward for $209.99 to secure library funds. $100 was dedicated to purchase children’s books and cassettes.

The Library initiated priority planning for the current year and the future.  Out of the priority planning grew concerns for needed room for a growing library collection and increased programming.  Due to an increased demand, the Large Print section was enlarged.  On February 14, 1981, a Country “Readers” (rural patrons) open house in attempt to increase rural usage of the Library in surrounding townships.  With an increase in couples working out of town, the Library adjusted its hours to 1½ hours on a week night.  Microfilming continued on the Woodward Enterprise newspaper.  In 1982 the library invested in the Dial-a-Story system.

Ina Beck resigned as town librarian effective December 1982 after fifteen years of promoting the Library’s growth and expansion in books and programming.  Ina’s retirement open house was hosted December 29, 1982.  Jan Danilson and Janice Nelson were hired as co-librarians as of January 1, 1983.  Jan continued as co-librarian until August, 1984 when she left to pursue higher education.  Jan as replaced by Pat Hefner as co-librarian.

Programming at the Library continued to grow and evolve.  The Woodward Library received honorable mention in the Central Iowa Region in the area of reference services in 1980.  In 1983 a large memorial for Melva Danilson of $1048 was used to purchase local history books for the historical collection.  Summer programs continued to draw large numbers of students and each year’s summer program ended and/or began with special programming including:

            a magician

            a chimney sweep

            hot air balloon rides

In 1983 the Library began participating in the Central Reginal Library Walk-In Service.  The Library generated additional revenue for joining the program, but all registered borrowers had to have a library card.

Ron Hass appraised the Library Board of the possibility of obtaining funding to build a combined fire department, community room, and library building.  Fund-raising began to support the possible new larger library building and to purchase more children’s books.  Used books were culled out of the collection that now exceeded 7000 (4,481 adult, 2,556 children’s) volumes and were sold at the Crazy Days Book Sale.  Candy and flowers were sold for Valentine’s Day and corsages for Mother’s Day to raise money.  Funds raised at Friends and Neighbors Day included sno-cones, caramel corn, iced tea and coffee.  To keep the library’s mission in front of the public, the Library sponsored a float in the city parade titled “100 years of Reading” for the Centennial Parade in 1983.

The Library Board continued to upgrade equipment and materials.  A typing table and legal size four drawer file cabinet were purchased.  The Polaroid Corporation donated a Polaroid 640 Sun Camera that was available for the five day loan.  Brenton Bank donated a computer for the public use which brought the Library into the computer age.  A new set of encyclopedias was ordered in 1984 and Dennis Hulse donated a display case to be used for a magazine display.

In 1985 the Library began to work on its state accreditation.  Part of the requirements included lengthening the hours of operation from the current 16 hours to 22 hours.  Board terms were set to begin in July and end in June in coordination with the cities fiscal year.  Terms were to last six years in staggered terms.  Board members during the 1980’s included:

·         Lucille Wilson      Evelyn Nation      Debbie Overton

·         Pat Hefner             Beth Goodrich     Carol Perrier

·         Ruth Ramsey        Donna Howe        Mildred Greeson

·         Carol Wendell       Jan Kaiser            Mary Woodward

·         Jan Horton             Diane Rebman     Dave Luke

·                                       Jill Pickell

A unique program began in the fall of 1985 of in cooperation with the third year Spanish students at Woodward-Granger High School.  A Spanish Club organized and third year students taught Spanish to 17 students from 2nd grade and above.

Library Directors Nelson and Hefner made the Library Board and the City Council aware late in 1985 that the Library faced the loss of its accreditation and state funding in three areas: lack of handicapped accessibility, a lack of sufficient shelf space, and a need for 1500 more books in the collection.

In 1986 the library entered the 20th century computer age for patrons with the donation of an Apple II e duo disk and Image Write II printer from Brenton Banks and an Apple II+ computer from Jeannie and Steve Arends complete with a color monitor, dusk drive, and computer carrel from the Schuyler Telephone Company.

The Library now boasted 10,000 available items for check out.  A cake pan library began and grew from donations.  The Friends of the Library was organized with an initial membership of 20 volunteers.

Creative programing continued in 1986.  Larry and Della Burgus did an art demonstration at the Library.  A fund raiser titled “Delicious Delivered Delectable May Day Treats?” was held for May Day.  The Library sponsored an eating disorders program in cooperation with Home Economic department and a consumer fraud information sessions put on by the State’s attorney general office.  At Halloween the Library hosted a pumpkin decorating contest and had Santa visit after a Christmas film.

1987 brought a series of oral histories of the Woodward area beginning with the history of mining near our community.  In March, the Library celebrated Women’s History Month by hosting a breakfast for the Woodward Business Women.

In July, the Woodward Library became one of the first 59 libraries in Iowa to receive State certification.  An accreditation celebration open-house was held with refreshments and free balloons.  The Dallas County Library Association received $3,670 to fund a collection of rotating large print books.  Also, in 1987, local librarian Pat Hefner was elected president of the Dallas County Librarians for a 2 year term.

The State Library Association in cooperation with Governor Terry Branstad initiated LAGBRAI

(Library Annual Great Read Across Iowa) October 18-24.  The Woodward Library hosted a brown bag lunch with local author Lucille Wilson to kick off the event.

The year 1988 was a year that brought visions of things to come.  In April, Larry’s Bar and Grill and the Little Brown Hut were demolished by the city of Woodward and the land purchased by the city for a new library.  The current library housed in Everett Albers building has a new sign in front and now holds 10,676 books, 28 magazine subscriptions, and 3 newspapers.

The American Library Association sponsored a “Why I Love My Library Contest”.  The local winner, 1st grader Zachary Burns, had his entry advance to the national contest.  An announcement party with prizes for every child that had entered the contest was held at the end of the contest.  The Library offered quilting and sign language classes, the oral histories of Woodward series continued, and Dennis Adams displayed his artistic works during the National Library Week open house.  175 people attended.  Virginia Caldwell Gomez, a former Woodward resident, held a book signing for the release of her book of poems.