The Gideon Library was started in 1932 by the Gideon Women's Club. Members donated two hundred books and served as the first librarians. It was located in the Gideon-Anderson Store but was moved to the basement of the Methodist Church in 1934.
Library interest receded in 1936; therefore the books were turned over to the school library. In 1939 library interest was revived.
The following year the Works Progress Administration, (WPA), helped with the revitalization of the library. A library board was formed to aid in the growth of the library. Because of the WPA's help, the library was moved to a lot one block east of where the Post Office was in 1960.
The Gideon Women's Club voted to give twenty-five percent of their funds to the library. The first annual library membership drive was held to buy new books.
The WPA withdrew its help in 1941. Without the WPA's help there was no money to pay rent or a librarian. Due to these events, the library was moved to a room above the old city jail. This location caused book circulation to drop sharply.
Because of the decrease in book circulation the Women's Club investigated the idea of building on the school park. The building was to be 20' X 24'; but with many donations from organizations, landowners, and other persons, it was decided that the building could be larger. On Sunday, April 22, 1942, the Gideon Public Library was dedicated by Reverend J. Fred Statler.
The library had been supported by some type of organization until 1943, when the citizens of Gideon voted a two-mill tax for the maintenance of the library. Five years later it was found that certain technicalities had not been fulfilled in the 1943 election; therefore the collecting of the two-mill tax was illegal. A petition was passed around, a special election was held and the new tax passed.
The Gideon Public Library became part of the New Madrid County Library System in 1968. The library was renamed the Rhodes Memorial Library in October of 1969.
The library was moved to a building next to the old laundromat in 1970. Also, that year was the start of the summer reading program. The laundromat and library burned March 15, 1977. Most of the books were either destroyed or ruined. After the fire the library was moved to the office of Dr. Ellis. In September of that same year the library was once again moved to the small building which now serves as the Girl Scout hut.
On Sunday, May 25, 1980, the library was dedicated to the late Judge O.R. Rhodes. The new library site was donated by two of his sons, Roger and Marion. Judge Rhodes grandson, Stephen Rhodes Sharp, made the dedication remarks.
In January of 1987, the library started checking out VCR tapes to those who wished for them. Later that year Webelos Pack #54 dedicated a flagpole, which now stands in front of the library.