The Edgeley Public Library was established in 1915 in the upstairs of the Campbell Building on Main Street with Mrs. Edgar Ham and Mrs. J.E. Kipp as librarians. The Edgeley Civic and Study Club created a Library Board and the library was moved to the City Hall with Mrs. Florence Lee and Mrs. Anna Sox as librarians. In 1951, the library was moved to the basement of the City Hall. Mrs. Emil Bloedow, a member of the Civic and Study Club, cleaned, painted and put shelves and tables in the basement.
Mrs. Bloedow thought that if the children were exposed to the attractiveness of books, they would promote the library actively. Therefore the Roberta Story Hour came into being on June 28, 1951, named after Mrs. J.C. (Roberta) Fenno, a former President of the Civic and Study Club, who died at a very young age. The Edgeley Public Library is still having Roberta Story Hour every summer.
Ruth Evert was hired as librarian on August 23, 1951. The library hours were from 2:00 to 5:00 Wednesday and Saturday afternoons.
Mrs. Bloedow started the Student Library Trainee Program in 1951, where high school students work 72 hours per year in the Edgeley Public Library or the Edgeley High School Library, working four years and receiving one credit of library science on their transcript to college. This program is in its 50th year with the students now also working for the South Central Area Library.
In April, 1954, the City of Edgeley voted to support the Edgeley Public Library by mill levy.
In March of 1957 Mrs. Emil Bloedow began working to have a four county library with bookmobile library services in LaMoure, Dickey, Logan, and McIntosh counties. Federal and state funds were available for bookmobile library services. Mrs. Bloedow, with the help of the LaMoure Homemakers groups and others, took signed petitions to the LaMoure County Commissioners in July. In 1958 LaMoure County levied tax support and Logan County joined in July 1959. On April 16, 1960, the North Dakota State Library presented a completion certificate to the South Central Area Library giving them their first bookmobile, office equipment, and supplies.
In April of 1959, Mrs. Bloedow purchased the old American Legion Building for $600.00 and the library moved into new headquarters. The South Central Area Library headquarters were rented from the Edgeley Public Library.
Hanson Twp. from Ransom County joined the South Central Area Library in July 1964 and Kidder County began paying in 1970 so their students attending Napoleon school could use the bookmobile service.
The South Central Area Library replaced their bookmobile in November of 1966 and again in December of 1976. In 1987 the bookmobile received a new chassis and it was repainted red and white in 1988.
In 1983 federal funds became available to renovate a building for a library. The Library Board and Ruth Evert often talked about a new building as the old building was jammed with books and expensive to heat. It just so happened that a building became available at that time for $35,000.00. Jeanne and Robert Hall of Seattle (sister of Ruth) were in Edgeley when the State Library contacted Ruth Evert about the available funds. They offered to make the down payment of $7,000.00 on the building as a gift to Edgeley. LaVerne Splickan gave the first $5,000.00; the Security National Bank of Edgeley gave $10,000.00; James Robison, son of the late Myrtle Bloedow donated $10,000.00; and with gifts of $1,000.00 each from the Everts and Sibyl Hall (Ruth's mother) both in memory of Andrea Evert, Ruth's daughter who died of cancer in 1973; a matching LSCA Title II Grant of $35,000.00; and many other gifts of money, progess began on the new library.
On June 16, 1984 a dream came true. The Edgeley Public Library moved into the completely renovated Hird & Sons Implement building on Main Street. The library now had electric hear, air conditioning, central vacuum, two bathrooms, hot water, carpeting, a librarian's office, combination work room and coffee room, a garage to house the South Area Library Bookmobile, plus 3200 feet of new shelving.
The Edgeley Public Library and the South Central Area Library are run as one library with two separate library boards and one set of employees.
In May 1985 the children of Myrtle Bloedow gave the Myrtle Bloedow Memorial Foundation a gift of $10,000.00; half of this to be used for a matching gift program wherein the Foundation would match local gifts to eliminate the remaining debt of $10,000.00 on the new library. On May 25, 1986, a mortgage-burning ceremony was held to celebrate the debt-free library building.
Myrtle Bloedow passed away in 1965. By the time of her death, the library had become a monument to her vision, courage, energy, and devotion. Ruth Evert continued to work tirelessly to improve the Edgeley Public Library and the South Central Area Library until her retirement in 1991. The library stands as a living testimony to their belief that freedom is the reward for knowledge.
Edgeley Public Library is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media