On March 6, 1934, a library board consisting of one member from several clubs met at the school to form a public library in Madison. Rev. McDonald, pastor for the Christian Church and also the Lions Club representative, became the first president of the board. This group scheduled a book drive for March 12, 13, and 14. Representatives from nearby school districts canvassed their localities for books and funds. The library board canvassed the business district for donations of money.
Mrs. Lloyd A. (Lois) Ausemus offered her house for the collection of books. Students from Kansas State Teachers College in Emporia helped with the cataloging of 250-275 volumes. The Madison Hotel across the street from the Santa Fe Depot offered a room for the first library site. Later the library occupied a room over the Driller’s Supply Store (now the Buckeye Supply building). Volunteers from women’s clubs took turns making books available two days a week: Wednesday afternoon and Saturday afternoon and evening.
In April 1935, the board rented a small house on South Second Street (north of the Bert Shaffer, now known as Gary Jamison home) from Lee Hilyard for $5.00 a month to be the first library building. Donations from local clubs, some individuals, and grants from the city covered the operating costs. The local clubs and school furnished volunteers to operate the library. In 1935 the city voters approved a ¾ mill city tax levy to finance the library.
A new library board met on December 4, 1939 with Dr. A.W. Bennett being elected as chairman. Mrs. W.H. Hamer took the secretary position and Mrs. Z. Vandergraf became the treasurer. The board appointed Mrs. Z.C.Gilman as the first librarian and she served until her death in 1964. Other ladies who have served as librarians are: Mrs. E. H. Boone (1964-1976), Mrs. Allen (Carrie)Honeyman (1976-1988), Virginia Pedroja (1988 to 2016) and Christine Inman (2016-present).
In the summer of 1950, the Madison Public School acquired the District #15 school house located southwest of Madison (across the road from the Harry Miller farm). The school district offered to sell the building to the library board for $1.00. The community raised about $5,000.00 for the move and the remodeling. The building was moved to the south end of the Skelly lot by Highway 57 on March 1, 195l. The Skelly Company charged the library board $1.00 a year on a 99 year lease. After extensive remodeling of the building, the open house for the new library was June 11, 1951. At that time the library contained about 4500 volumes with a circulation of more than 6,000 books.
The Skelly Oil Company terminated the lease in 1958 to expand the service station. The board then acquired land from George Hyle to move the library building to 112 South 1st Street.
The Madison Public Library joined the Southeast Kansas Library System in 1967 and was one of the original 42 libraries to comprise the system. The Southeast Kansas Library System (SEK) now covers 15 counties in southeast Kansas. The system center in Iola provides interlibrary loan service with access to materials with the system and the state. In addition to many other services, SEK also provides a traveling collection of 3200 books which rotate each year to member libraries.
On December 6, 1984, the city council passed a charter resolution to raise the library mill levy from 1 mill to 3 mills.
In 1988, through the efforts of Madeline Galbraith, the library was refurbished and redecorated. The exterior was sided and through a memorial fund for Carrie Honeyman, a permanent flagpole was installed and flower beds completed. New bookshelves were purchased for the children’s room from an Erma Bangs memorial fund. In 1990 a new bathroom sink/cabinet combination was given by Marjorie Erickson. Until the new library was built, the current building had a tiny rest room with cold water only. Later an outdoor ramp to the building was built for wheelchair accessibility. The library collection was weeded by SEK during the 1990’s and SEK also came and helped pack and move books when new carpeting was installed.
A charter ordinance was passed by the city council on February 17, 1994 to allow a person from Madison Township to be a member of the Madison Public Library Board. Nancy McClelland became the first township representative.
Grants from SEK and the State Library provided the first computer for the library in 1995. An oak computer cabinet was selected by Bob Fry for the system. In November 1995, the library also received grant funds for software to access the Internet and the Information Network of Kansas.
In 2000, a second position for a city non-resident representative was approved to be on the library board. Jeri Knobloch filled this position.
In December 2000, a charter resolution to raise the library mill level not to exceed 10 mills was passed.
In 2002, the library acquired its first public access computer provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grant.
In August 2002, George and June Sauder announced their plans to fund a building for a new Community Center for Madison through the Verdigris Valley Community Foundation. In November the Foundation gave their support to raise $65,000 from the community to include a library, also, in the new building.
The old ice house owned by Gary Jamison for storage was torn down. The Barker house was purchased and torn down. The old library building was sold to Bobby Randolph and moved to SW Boulevard and converted into a house. A large part of the library shelving and contents were moved to the Madison Depot for storage and a temporary library was set up in the store room in back of the city offices. The Tom Knobloch family and Lynn Meyer moved the library contents to the Depot, the temporary location in the city building, and to the new building location when it was finished at 110 South 1st Street.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the Sauder Community Center and Madison Public Library was held in June of 2003. In December of 2003 the Sauder Community Center was opened. George and June Sauder donated more than $325,000. for the project. In January of 2004, the new library was opened for business. The Library Board and the Verdigris Valley Community Foundation raised more than $65,000. for the new library. In addition to contributions, many bake sales were held and raffle tickets were sold for a 4-wheeler. Diantha Stutesman won the 4-Wheeler. Members of the library board were President Glennis (Dee) Jones, June Sauder, Vivian Luthi, Edith Engle, Laura Glazier, Jeri Knobloch and Rev. Bob Robison.
Tom Knobloch installed all the wall shelving in the new library. Two new adult access computers were added with grants from SEK. The Citizens State Bank in Madison donated three new computer chairs. Marjorie Winzeler gave a shelving unit for the store room and plants for the library. Dick and Becky Loosen donated the beautiful new adult seating area for the library. The building site was completed with beautiful landscaping, the sculpture (“Nina”) in front of the library, and a parking lot including decorative street lamps all made possible by George and June Sauder.
In 2004 after the new library was opened, Aquarius Club of Madison gave a TV and VCR/DVD player to the library to be used for special programs. USD 386 donated a used copier from the school.
On Nov. 8, 2005, June Monnard Sauder passed away. She left a bequest to the Madison Public Library in the amount of $20,000 for special programs, author visits, and summer reading programs to enhance the offering by the library to the community. Events are approved by her daughters, Becky Monnard Loosen and Vicki Monnard Rice. Events written for publications designate the name June Monnard Sauder as donor.
In 2006, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Gilman gave two J.R. Hamil color landscape prints and oak bench to the library in memory of Mr. Gilman’s mother, Hattie Johnston Gilman (the first Madison Public Library librarian). The bench was designed and built by Tom Knobloch.
In 2006, Marjorie Winzeler gave a collection of antique baskets to the library for decoration above the bookshelves. These baskets are a permanent part of the library collection. If the library should ever close, these baskets are to be given to the Madison Historical Society Museum and the Greenwood Co. Historical Society Museum.
In 2006, the State Library of Kansas gave the Southeast Kansas Library System a grant of federal LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) funds for automating libraries in the SEK system. The Madison Public Library joined a consortium within the SEK system for automation. In 2007 the library collection was bar coded by SEK staff and the librarian trained in automation procedures including copy cataloging. In 2008 the KOHA automation system was up and running. Because of the grant, our initial cost for the project was $200.
In 2009, through an equipment grant from SEK, the library acquired a new Sharp copier. Also in 2009, through a grant from SEK, we went on a courier system which greatly facilitated the interlibrary loans we received as well as loans sent to other libraries.
In 2009, SEK discontinued their art print collection and the library acquired art prints free of charge to decorate the library.
Through the years the library has sponsored many art exhibits by local artists, provided adult programming with lectures in the Fall and Spring, summer reading programs for children, Wee Wiggler Story Time, Parents as Teachers materials and programs, and, most recently, author visits for Madison students—Lisa Campbell Ernst and Cheryl Harness.
In summary, the Madison Public Library receives support from city tax funds, allocations from the Southeast Kansas Library System (SEK), Kansas State Aid and private donations. The Southeast Kansas Library System offers assistance with interlibrary loan, cataloging, special needs services, rotation books, SEKnFind automation, youth services, grants, consulting, and technology services.
Through the efforts of George and June Sauder, the Library Board, SEK and the Madison community, the Madison Public Library has been able to evolve into a modern 21st century library and to serve the community with up-to-date information access, improved technology (including wireless access for laptops), a variety of programs and exhibits, interlibrary loan, and a book/video collection that strives to meet the needs of local patrons of all ages.
Madison Public Library
110 S 1st St
Madison, KS 66860
Sunday, Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 10am - 4pm
Thursday: 10am - 5pm
Saturday: 10am - 1pm