Wilson Memorial Library: A Hub of Education

Karen Greiner is in charge of crafts and other fun things to keep the kids entertained all afternoon.

For over a year now, since last August, Toni Greiner has been the librarian of the Wilson Memorial Library in Keota. She says the best part of her job is the people she interacts with everyday and the conversations they share. Adults and children both frequent the library to use the computers, the free Wi-Fi, and of course, to read.

            Greiner said she herself loves to read too, but because the job keeps her very busy the list of books she’d like to read keeps getting longer.       The Keota Library has a wide selection of books and other resources. An average book with regular type cost the library $20.00 each. However, the large-type books are typically $40.00 each. If a patron can’t find what they are looking for, all hope is not lost.

            “With the “SILO” through the state, we can order almost any book someone is looking for,” Greiner said.

            SILO stands for State of Iowa Libraries on Line and is a joint program of the State Library of Iowa and the Iowa State University Library. Connection to these resources doesn’t take that long either. In just two or three days after a request, the requested materials are usually available at the Keota Library for pick-up. 

            Another resource the Keota library offers can be accessed without ever leaving your home. If you check out the Wilson Memorial Library Website, you’ll find a link for Learning Express. The website includes an explanation of all that is offered in personal, educational, or career growth by following the link.

            “LearningExpress Library is an interactive online learning platform featuring over 770 practice tests, tutorials, and eBooks related to job search and workplace skills improvement, career certification and licensing exam preparation, college entrance and graduate school admissions exam preparation, GED exam preparation, and basic skills improvement in reading, writing, and math, for all ages. You'll get immediate scoring, complete answer explanations, and an individualized analysis of your results.” www.keota.lib.ia.us/

            Sometimes the library hosts workshops and speakers for adults to attend as well. On Thursday, November 8th, Don & Dianne Kramer will present their program "Our Neighbors the Amish" at 2:00 pm.

            On the school early-release Wednesdays, some of the Keota’s Eagles fly straight to the library for a program designed just for them. With the help of Karen Greiner, the students are kept busy for the afternoon constructing crafts, watching movies, or some other fun activity. The library has also just started a STEM program for Elementary School students. On Thursday, Oct 25, the theme was “Dash Robot Workshop.”

            Although the educational options at Wilson Memorial Library are endless, sometimes, the events are just for fun, like the upcoming Halloween Party on Wednesday, Oct 31st from 4:00-5:00 p.m.

            The most recent part of the library building was constructed in 1995, but the ‘birth’ of the Wilson Memorial Library began in October of 1949 with the passing of R. O. Wilson. According to prior editions of the Keota Eagle, assembled in the 1973 Centennial Book,

            “Wilson willed the town of Keota a large sum for the purpose of building a fireproof public library, also all the books in his personal library.”

            With the donation, Wilson also requested that the library be built on a specific tract of land know as the S.K. Leacox place, and “that some member of the Keota, Iowa Chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, be appointed a member of the Library Board.”

            It took until May of 1950 for the town council to vote on accepting the bequeathed $70,000-$80,000, but it wasn’t until 1952 the architect H.B. Sowden of Washington was hired to draw up the plans for the fireproof library.

            On February 12, 1953, the town council held a special meeting to award the building contracts. McKey-Fancher Construction Company of Oskaloosa, Iowa, was awarded the general contract on their low bid of $32,008. Pierson & Pierson Company of Fairfield, Iowa had the low bid of $5,000 and was awarded the plumbing and heating contract. The only electric bid came from Keota Electric Company of Keota for $2,728.73.


For the rest of this story, check out the October 31st issue of The Keota Eagle.