In the fall of 1924, nine interested citizens met at the home of Mrs.
D.F. Nauth to discuss the possibility of establishing a library in Kiel.
They named themselves the Kiel Public Library Association and launched
a house-to-house fundraising campaign, asking residents for a pledge
of $1 per year.
In early 1925, a
temporary library opened in Lindsay's Drug Store at 630 Fremont Street,
with Stewart Lindsay acting as librarian. He received no salary, other
than $5 per month rent for the space. The first books were obtained
from the Andrew Carnegie Endowment Fund, a state-sponsored traveling
library, and various civic-minded citizens. Gifts and dues from the
membership drive were the only revenues. During the first month of operation,
195 books were checked out. By the end of 1925, the library listed 253
The first "official"
library home was in the Arnold Building at the corner of Fremont and
4th Streets. The library moved there on July 1, 1925, and was staffed
entirely by volunteers. There was no heat, other than a pot-belly stove.
In 1928, the library
moved into the Kiel City Hall, where it remained until 1972. Clara Oesau
served as the first full-time librarian, with a salary of $10 a month.
Miss Eleanor Druecker served as evening librarian with a salary of $2
per month. The total operating budget in 1930 was $600.
Growing pains began
in the early 1960s, when Ann Detjen was serving as librarian. In 1971,
heirs of the Adolph Stoelting estate offered the family home on Indian
Hill, its adjacent property along the Sheboygan River, and $50,000,
if the city would provide matching funds. City officials accepted the
offer. Two of Adolph's children, Fred Stoelting and Marie Lee, oversaw
the relocation campaign. The city broke ground in 1971 for a new 40
x 60 sq. ft. building at a cost "not to exceed $100,000."
Dedication of the new library took place June 25, 1972.
Julia Davis is only the 8th director to serve the city of Kiel
since 1924. Others who served were Nancy Knepful, Vicki Lenz, Aileen
Fitzgerald, and Nanette Bulebosh. Our inventory of books has grown to more than 38,000 books,
as well as numerous audio books, CDs, videos, DVDs, magazines and computers.
On June 30, 2002,
the city rededicated the library building and acknowledged its value
and importance as a recreational, educational, and cultural attraction
for area residents of all ages. We thank the community for its support
for and involvement in the library all these years.