The stone church located at 606 Main Street in Seneca was built in 1867 by the Unitarian-Universalist Society and was the first church structure to be built in the community. A campaign to raise money for the church was started by presbyterian minister Charles Parker. In 1931, the Unitarian-Universalist Society disbanded and the building became the Seneca Free Library.
The Seneca Public Library is located at 6th and Main in Seneca, Kansas. This is a small public library serving a community of about 2000 people. The library has a collection of approximately 15000 books. Currently the library is located in an old church building and is coping with limited space for its collection.
During the winter of 1994, the library established a "Kansas Collection." Basically, this involved the rearrangement of materials already owned by the library into a special section. All of the genealogy resources are located in this section.
The library has copies of several family genealogies and histories in book form. The Seneca Library has a copy of the local county history written by Ralph Tennal in 1916. This book, History of Nemaha County, has been well used and its condition is deteriorating rapidly. The library purchased a micro-fiche copy of the book to guarantee its availability to researchers. In addition to Tennal's history of the county, the library has several other resources on Nemaha county including compilations of birth, marriage and death records from 1885-1904. The library owns several different editions of plat maps of the county and a copy of the only cemetery book of the county. Photocopying is available to patrons at a charge of ten cents per page.
The library does not subscribe to genealogical periodicals. However, several titles are donated by local residents. These periodicals include The Genealogical Helper and Heritage Quest both of which provide international coverage with an emphasis on United States research. Both of these periodicals include a query section and charge for queries based on the number of words. Neither of these periodicals include an annual index, but index individual issues. Because of budget limitations, this library does not have an index to genealogical periodicals.
The Seneca Public Library has an excellent collection of newspaper microfilm. This collection includes microfilm of all Seneca newspapers until 1985. They are currently in the process of arranging to obtain microfilm of the recent years of the newspaper. Besides newspaper microfilm, the library, through donations, has recently begun adding microfilm of Nemaha county census records. Since the library has a microfiche/microfilm reader printer, patrons can easily obtain a print copy of any of these resources.
A resource which is often overlooked in the library is a collection of index cards prepared by the WPA. These cards index the early editions of the Seneca newspapers. The cards are grouped by topic and time period and then filed alphabetically.
In addition to being rich in Nemaha County resources, the library also has a fairly extensive Kansas history collection. These resources include A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans by William E. Connelly and Genealogical and Biographical Record of North-Eastern Kansas published in 1900.
As a small library, the Seneca Public Library has an excellent collection for local genealogists and historians.