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Library History

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


The first white settlers in the area around Lacona, known as Whitebreast Township, were William Willis, Sr. and his brother Martin, who arrived in 1843.   Willis Clevenger and family came to the Whitebreast Township in 1854 and bought land in what is Lacona now.  "Jefferson" was the original name of Lacona, and was founded by  Samuel Myers and Willis Clevenger in May, 1856. The town changed its name from Jefferson to Lacona in June, 1857 for mail purposes,  as there was already another Jefferson in Iowa.

Lacona is proud to have a city library which was established in March 1976.  Maxine Johnson, Ruth Butler, and Maureen Thompson were among the many that were excited about this great project.  The first Lacona Public Library was on the balcony floor of the Community Center.  The first librarians were volunteers.  The first paid librarian was Virginia Dittmer.

The library continued to add more items and eventually outgrew the original building. It was not handicapped accessible. In 1976, the city raised the money to build a accessible building that houses the Lacona Public Library, City Hall, and the Fire Department.  In 2008, there was a fire in the building and the library was relocated to a small apartment until the repairs were completed.  Thanks to insurance, grants, and generous donations from community members and other libraries, Lacona Library was able to rebuild its collection and update some of the services offered.  The library was moved back into the refurbished building in the Fall of 2009.

Lacona Library has always kept pace with the new formats and programming.  Audio cassettes with books and music were added in 1985.  In 1990 the library added 25 new video cassettes.  Today, in 2012, the library offers books on CD, DVDs, computer software/games, magazines, and (of course) print books.  The library has 4 public access computer stations, with free wi-fi.  The staff has 1 certified librarian and a library aide.  We have installed BookCat and CatVids, then entered all the library inventory onto the computer.  This software helps the staff check out items much faster and easier for library patrons.  It will also make it possible for patrons to look up books on their own through the website.  In the near future, Lacona Library is hoping to join the WILBOR e-book lending network, which will add access to thousands more titles to our community.


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.