The Harper Public Library was established in 1882 but it failed. The first Library “Grand Opening” was in August of 1884 and became the Library we have today. Since that time the library has been in seven different locations (one that flooded) with the present address of 708 West 14th (Highway 160).
The First official Librarian was Mrs. McKee. There have been many Librarians/Directors since that time, the four that served in that position the longest were Ada Crocker (23 years), Imogene Van Dolah (21 years), and Frances Quigley (total of 15 years) and Tina Welch (10 years). There have been 22 Librarian/Directors since the Harper Public Library was first established.
Other interesting facts:
* The Harper Public Library worked closely with the Harper College in 1899.
* In 1908 the “traveling library” was delivered from Topeka by train.
* Mrs. Frances Quigley, a mail order bride from England was appointed Librarian in 1924, left one year later but then returned in 1927 and then resigned in 1941 when World War II broke out so she could return to England to check on her family.
* In 1968 the Library had to close so the Librarian could take vacation. Which probably is what lead to the first Assistant Librarian, Isabelle Adamson, and the first 3rd person Librarian, Imogene Van Dolah, in 1969.
* From 1967 – 1975 Turkeys were given for the Christmas bonus.
* Purchased the first electric Typewriter in 1970.
* Imogene Van Dolah was promoted to Assistant Librarian in 1974 and the Library got a PHONE! Then in 1976 Imogene became the Library Director. Connie Robinson became the Assistant Librarian, a position that she held for many years!
* The Library paid for the first copy machine for the City building, with the agreement with the city that there would be no charge for any copying done by the Library.
*The classroom annex (recovered existing space) was first used for summer reading programs in 2018 after a Community Foundation grant in 2017 provided half the cost of heating/air-conditioning units.