Library History

Read how this library was established and how it has evolved to become such an important part of our community.

Patrons of the Sanborn Public Library can benefit from advances in technology and additional conveniences.

A microfilm reader-printer makes it easier for patrons to access news articles.  The library has copies of the O’Brien Pioneer and Sanborn Pioneer newspapers dating back to 1872 in its microfilm collection.  Library users now can print copies of what they find in old issues.

A book return which is now attached to the library building adds convenience for those using the library.

Seven computers are available for public use.  The computers give library patrons access to PC  computer technology.

Sanborn has a long history of promoting its library as a vital part of the lives of its citizens, providing resources to enrich the minds of its youth and to broaden the minds of its adults.

The first public library was organized in 1901 through civic clubs and volunteers and flourished though business people who kept the books in their stores.  Two years later the town hired a full-time librarian and moved the books to a room in Sanborn’s Opera House.  The Sanborn Public Library’s current building was built in 1911 at 407 Main St. with the help of a grant from the Carnegie Foundation in Washington, D.C.  The building was remodeled in 1964 and a children’s library was added.

The library’s card catalog was automated in 1995.  Patrons can now see which books are available for checkout themselves.  Internet access also is available on the library’s computers, which are open for personal use.  A fax machine is available for patrons to send or receive messages.  As always, the library is an ideal place to make copies, especially with our new copier!

Approximately 20,000 books sit on the shelves waiting to be borrowed and the library subscribes to nearly 70 periodicals and newspapers for patrons while they take a break and relax as they read.  Special collections of large print books, videos and books on tape also are available.  Currently, there are approximately 1,200 borrowers.

If the library does not have a particular book, the inter-library loan system allows it to borrow the book from another library.

Patrons may also renew their library books over the telephone or e-mail when the library is closed.

Programs for children flourish, including the popular summer reading program, book clubs, craft and story hours and many other programs throughout the year.

We have also started a book club for adults called the "Fireside Chatters" They meet once a month.

A Seven-member board of trustees makes the library policies and oversees a budget as well as long-term plans and goals.Co-directors have been hired by the board to handle the day-to-day functions of the institution and to assist patrons with a helpful smile.  The board holds regular meeting at 5:00 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month at the library.  Meetings are open to the public.

Interested in more history? Check out the Iowa Historical Society.

This resource is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by State Library of Iowa.