Library History

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

The New Century Club, Northwood's first women's study club was a motivating force in the library movement. 
As early as 1904 the subject of a public library was discussed at club meetings, according to well preserved minutes of the club's activities. Mrs.  Jack Davey was the first librarian, in 1904, and Mrs. T. J. Horton suceeded her.
Non-tax supported for many years, the library was financed by home talent plays, baseball benefits, etc.  But all through the years it was a major project of the New Century Club.
The tax-supported library was started in 1925, but for the first 20 years of its existence no support came from tax funds.
For 50 years or more the Northwood library was located on the ground floor of the old high school building, which was first built for a courthouse in 1873.
Under the guidance and direction of Mrs. E. M. Sabin and Mrs. S. A. Pangburn, Miss May Smith served as librarian for 18 years. She was followed by Mrs. Alton Flatness for four years.
The late Judge M. H. Kepler was the board chairman for many years. He was succeeded by Glenn S. Cleveland, County Superintendent of Schools, who with the Board appointed Mrs. Adeline Henderson librarian. She served from 1956 to 1961.
Upon the resignation of Mr. Cleveland, Miss Ulrica Tosdal, a board member, was elected chairman. Due to her vital interest and tireless efforts, the library increased in volume and circulation, the building was remodeled and plans were made to seek funds for a new building.
During this period, Mrs. H. H. Douglass and Mrs. B. H. Osten were in charge of the Story Hour during the winter months.
In memory of Miss Katherine Scammon, a memorial shelf was added which includes several fine books given as memorials.
In 1961 Mrs. Henderson resigned, and Mrs. C. A. Sharp was appointed as librarian, assisted by Miss Esther Mellem. Mrs. Sharp resigned in 1973 and Mrs. Vincent Larson was appointed librarian. She served as librarian through 1989. For the next 29 years Connie Kenison was the library director until her retirement in December of 2016. Morgan Johnson replaced Connie and was at the library until the summer of 2022 when Emily Tufte took over as director. 
Several years ago the town of Northwood set aside a fund for a new library, which grew to approximately $20,000. A grant from the Kinney-Lindstrom Foundation of $20,000 was added to that fund, and matching funds from the federal government made possible the present building. Bergland and Bianco, architects, of Mason City, submitted plans for the building, which was dedicated in October 1972.
Trustees of the board were: Ulrica Tosdal, chairman, John Greve and Mrs. B. H. Osten, co-chairmen of the building committee, Mrs. Floyd Ensign, Mrs. Leon S. Barnes, Glenn O. Tenold, and Joseph Orth.
A 1200 square foot addition was added to the library in 1986 providing much needed storage and work area and also a quiet reading room and reference area.  This expansion was made possible due to a $30,000 grant from the Kinney-Lindstrom Foundation and by utilizing much of the funds bequested to the library from the late Gladys Pixley and the late Millie Bottleman. Bergland and Cram, architects of Mason City, submitted plans for the building, with open house dedication July 6, 1986.
The library is maintained through state, county and city taxes. The service is free to residents of both town and country, and book requests may be filled through the State Library Program, SILO.