Tripp County, South Dakota
Tripp County Library

Tripp County Library History

Tripp County Library
Winner, South Dakota
Miss M. Bernice Overton, Librarian

Tripp County's library, located in Winner, was the second county library established in South Dakota. It began service to the people of Tripp County on September 1, 1921. The Women's Club of Winner was the guiding hand behind this project. Most of the women in Tripp County, under the direction of the club, presented to the county commissioners more than the necessary number of certified petitions from each legal voter in each township for the establishing of a county library.

On May 3, 1921, the county commissioners appointed Mrs. R. L. Tindale, Mrs. O. E. Farnsworth, Mrs. H. Hazzard, D. C. Bond, and J. G. Mackaman as members of the first Tripp County Library Board of Trustees. The board elected Mrs. Kathryn Evans to be the first librarian at their May 17, 1921, meeting.

The library was located on the second floor of the courthouse until 1926. At that (South Dakota Library Bulletin 87) time, it was moved to its present location on the first floor in the southwest corner. Here hours of the library were 8:30 to 12:00, and 1:00 to 5:30, and one hour each evening. During the first two months, 200 books were circulated to 174 patrons and 64 cents in fines was collected.

The budget of Tripp County Library has shown an indication of the financial status of the county. During the "good" years, appropriations are generous; during the "bad" years, appropriations are low. For the 1922-23 fiscal year, the budget was $5,000 and remained near this same amount for several years. During the depression years, appropriations dropped, with $2,439.87 in 1933-34 being the lowest. The following budgets show a gradual increase each year. For the 1945-46 fiscal period, Tripp County Library received $6,000 and the present appropriations are $11,365.

Circulation records of any library are a reflection of the interest and pride that the people have in their library. Tripp County Library records 92,322 in 1932 as the highest circulation in the 40-year history of the library. The population of the county at that time was approximately 11,712. While serving a population of 9,937 in 1940, the library circulated 83,743 books and magazines. The 1960 circulation was 60,375 to a population of 8,761.

Branch libraries have been a part of the library service in Tripp County from its beginning. By the end of the 1923-24 fiscal period, there were 15 branches and stations established. At no time has there been more than fifteen, with nine the most consistent number of active branches. Presently there are five branches operating. If a community can provide a suitable and adequate location and an interested custodian, the Board of Trustees will agree to establishing a branch library in their locality.

In the fall of 1928, Mrs. Evans extended the services of Tripp County Library by loaning books in quantity to the rural schools. During the first year 135 teachers made use of this service, which has been continued through the years. Each teacher may borrow eight books per pupil for a two-month period. This year there are 72 (South Dakota Library Bulletin 88) rural school teachers checking out books for their schools.

The Board hired Mrs. Caroline Evans as assistant librarian in July of 1925. Until this time, Kathryn Evans had managed with part-time help.

Members of the National Youth Administration and the Civil Works Administration were employed by the library in 1934 and 1935. They cleaned and mended books; redecorated and cleaned walls, floors and furnishings; and helped at the circulation desk.

A perpetual thorn in the side of every librarian is the problem of overdues. As an example, the Tripp County Library Board of Trustees discussed a particular case of overdue books on their meeting on April 6, 1926. A family in the county had borrowed 12 books that were due November 16, 1925. They owed $15.48 in overdue fines, but would pay only $1. The Board voted to ask for outside help to obtain $10 of the amount due. Obviously this is an unusual case, but the problem of overdues and fines are unpleasant for all concerned. As in 1921, the fines at Tripp County Libraryare 1c a day per article.

Evening service of the library was financed by the city of Winner from 1921 to 1957. At that time the outside entrance to the library was removed because more space was needed. Now access to the library is gained by entrance through the corridors of the courthouse. Because the library would be the only office open in the evening, the library board and staff do not want to undertake the responsibility for any and all happenings in the courthouse during these hours. Therefore, there are no evening hours at the Tripp County Library now.

After being Tripp County Librarian for 30 years, Mrs. Kathryn Evans resigned in November of 1951. She is remembered by all who knew her as a wonderful person.

One year later, Mrs. Evans passed away in Gresham, Oregon, where she had been living since her resignation.

M. Berniece Overton, the present Tripp County Librarian, began her duties on December 1, 1951, She had worked at this library when she was a high school student. The present staff also includes Miss LeAnn Holden, assistant librarian, and two school girls who work part-time.

Members of the current Tripp County Library Board of Trustees are: The Reverend W. I. Snook, Winner, president; Mrs. Harold Nielsen, Winner; Mrs. James Nance, Colome; Miss Marie Lawler ,Keyapaha; and M. E. Kulbel, Winner; County Commissioners representative. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of January, May, and September.

Library service to the people of Tripp County includes the following: Monday through Friday the hours of the main library are 9:30 to 5:30 for the general public; during the school year, Saturday hours are the same, but Winner grade school students are asked not to visit the library on this day, and the afternoons are reserved for teachers only; during the summer months, the library closes at noon on Saturday.

Every third Thursday, Miss Overton visits the Witten Public School with a number of books that can be checked out by the school children or adults in the community. Lack of a branch library in this area makes this necessary.

Locations and custodians of the five Tripp County Branch Libraries are:
Colome-Lewis's Furniture Store, Mrs. Roy Lewis.
Hamill-Hamill Grocery Store, Carl Lindholm.
Keyapaha-Lawler's Store, Miss Marie Lawler.
Millboro- Millboro Grocery Store, Rose Carter.
Wewela-Barcus's Service Station, Mrs. Elmer Barcus.

Books are loaned in quantity to the schools in the county. Filmstrips are available to be checked out by schools and organizations. An outside book depository is located by the west door of the courthouse so patrons may return books after hours.

Summer reading clubs are sponsored for the grade school students. Last summer the library joined the Library Club of America. Students in the fourth through the eighth grades may earn their membership pin, honor membership pin and life membership pin by reading and reporting on eighteen books. Fifty-eight readers are enrolled in the Tripp County Library Club of America.

Story Hour is held every Friday at 10:00 A.M. during the months of June, July, and August. Mrs. Embert Mann is returning as storyteller this year. Approximately 80 kindergarten, first, second, and third grade students enrolled last summer.

To give efficient service to the people of Tripp County has been and will continue to be the purpose of this library. Significant progress has been made during the first 40 years, but there is now a need for additional space and expansion of the present facilities.

Tripp County Library was established by civic-minded people who believed in and worked for this public institution. With the future-minded people continuing to work for the library, Tripp County Library is looking forward to another period of growth in the coming years.

[SOUTH DAKOTA LIBRARY BULLETIN Vol 49, submitted by RM, Tripp County Historical Society]

Library For Tripp County

The Woman's Club in Winner, assisted by the Secretary of the Commercial Club and the Business Girl's Organization, is making a campaign for a county library in Tripp County. The sentiment of the community is very strongly in favor of the library and its establishment is practically assured. It is planned to house the library in the new $200,000 court house in Winner for the present.

[South Dakota Library Bulletin, Sept. 1920, page 39; submitted by RM, Tripp County Historical Society]

Tripp County Second Library

Tripp County Library was the second library to be established in South Dakota. The Women’s Club of Winner presented petitions to the county commissioners showing that the voters were in favor of having a library.

On May 3, 1921, the county commissioners appointed the first Tripp County Library Board of Trustees: Mrs. R. L. Tindale, Mrs. O. E. Farnsworth, Mrs. H. Hazzard, D. C. Bond and J. G. Mackaman.

On May 17, 1921, the Tripp County Library Board of Trustees elected their first librarian, Mrs. Kathryn Evans. She was the librarian for 30 years, resigning in November of 1951.

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