In January 1926, two local women’s philanthropic groups, the Davenport Study Club and the Fortnightly Study Club prepared plans for a library in the Davenport community. The ladies arranged with the City Council to utilize the room above the city jail two afternoons and one evening a week.
To finance the library, the Study Clubs gave a dinner at the local Presbyterian Church and solicited the public to contribute books. At $0.50 a plate, the dinner raised $111.00 as reported on the first Library Board meeting on February 9, 1926.
The Davenport Public Library was officially opened on Saturday, March 13, 1926. Everyone in the community was invited to tea and to apply for a library card.
At a Library Board meeting on March 25, 1927, the librarian reported that the collection had grown to include 765 books and that the library had 35-40 weekly visitors.
In 1928, the City Council took over the library and budgeted $150.00 annually and received further financial assistance from the Study Clubs for several years. After three moves, the Davenport Public Library was relocated in 2004 to its current location.
Pictures provided courtesy of Davenport Times newspaper.
Above left: Original jail with library on first floor.
Above right: Anna Jarvis, first full-time librarian.