Linden Public Library to host open house April 10 to show off recently renovated space

Becky Carlyle
Correspondent
Library Director Julie Bishop stands inside of the Linden Public Library. An open house is set for 8:30-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 10 to show off the recently renovated space.

Area residents are invited to visit the recently renovated Linden Public Library during National Library Week, celebrated this year from April 4-10.

“Our library foundation group [Linden Public Library Foundation Inc.] received a grant from the Bock Family Foundation,” Library Director Julie Bishop said. “Although it did not cover the full amount that was needed, we were able to replace the carpet, paint, fix and freshen up the inside of the library, easily the first time in over 40 years.”

The Linden Public Library originally served as traveling library until the 1960s before becoming a modern-day library with a board of directors. The latest change to the library was a building remodel during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. 

The library closed in November of 2020 and reopened in January of 2021. While Bishop said they aren’t completely done with their remodeling plans, an open house is set for 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 10 to celebrate the renovation.

The foundation friend’s group fundraised all summer on the bike trail, selling water and cookies to pay for the paint and supplies. A patron donated 15 gallons of paint. Six volunteers helped pack up while others helped paint and build frames. They also donated wood and materials to clean and fix the shelving.  

New carpet was installed in the Linden Public Library during a recent renovation project.

“Karen Fluharty with our foundation group, was instrumental in making all of this happen,” Bishop said. “We had duct tape holding our carpet together.”

The city of Linden and the library split the cost of the carpet that the Bock Family Foundation grant did not pay. 

The foundation friend’s group plans to open up again in May to serve the bicyclists that use the trail. The library also achieved tier 1 status last year through the State Library of Iowa, which will open up some extra funding for the library.

Bishop shared that it is difficult to fund small libraries in America because cities cannot afford them. They currently receive a yearly amount from the city of Linden. 

“Dallas County funding is where most of our funding comes from, along with the 1% sales tax option,” she said. “Without those funds, we would not be here.”

From left, Rexanna Ketelsen, Alecia Lleshi, Maribee Burnham and Gay Norton with the Linden Public Library Foundation put together goody bags for the open house on Saturday, April 10.

Last year, their foundation achieved 501(c)(3) status. This allows them to apply for grants that they were previously not eligible for. Fundraising is also very important for the success of the library.

Bishop has been volunteering at her local libraries since she was a young mom. She did anything to provide for her family and is working hard to keep the history alive for the town. She has a background in childcare, healthcare, financial and volunteers as much as she can.

Her favorite thing about working at the library is the people, namely the children that come through the door, watching their eyes light up with questions and the older folks that poke their heads in to talk for a few minutes. 

The library is currently offering STEM bags in coordination with the SW STEM council. The children have completed the ‘Winter – a Flurry of Possibilities’ activities and are in the process of picking up their prizes.

“I love hearing about all the different experiments and the thought process that went into the projects,” Bishop said.

The interior of the Linden Public Library.

She is making literacy bags for the children to check out to enhance their education and fun. Their foundation has applied for grants to cover the costs of the books and supplies that go into making each bag.

“Although I would love nothing more than to have the children back in for weekly craft projects, we just do not have the space to do that safely,” she said. “We will use the literacy bags with crafts and science experiments this summer.” 

They plan to meet in the park and although the summer reading program will not look the same, they still want the kids to read and to play. Prizes will still be earned.

The library plays a larger role in the Linden community by having a weekly or bi-weekly food pantry, in conjunction with Hunger Free Dallas County.

“Linden is small,” she said. “There is not a convenience or grocery store. I have been known to pick up groceries for a patron while delivering books. The library is vital to our citizens for the social economic impact on the town and it’s a great place to get books.”

The Linden Public Library is located at 131 S. Main St.

In 2019, the population in Linden was around 208. The library serves approximately 60 adult patrons and at least 60 children. Around 20 people visit the library on a daily basis. They currently have three part-time people and are ready to hire another helper.

“I have learned very quickly to not recommend books,” Bishop said. “I can only steer the patron to the correct section in the library and help answer questions. Each person is different in what they like.”

The library recently moved to the automated Follett/Destiny check out system. With the physical collection and the e-books that are available, they top out at over 94,000 books available to their residents. Their physical collection is 6,900 books, movies, games and puzzles.

“With a recent donation given to us, we have been able to purchase new releases, best sellers and we are able to take requests,” Bishop said. “I love being able to tell a child that his/her new book is in to read!”

Bishop would like to see the library offer additional virtual programs and more space would also be appreciated in the future.

The interior of the Linden Public Library.

“We would love to set up a teen program and an adult program,” she said. “We have talked about setting up programs to come in and give presentations to the community [and] a technology-based area for our patrons.” 

The library hours are 2-5 p.m. Monday, 2-6 p.m. Tuesday, 8:30-11:30 a.m. Wednesday, 1-5 p.m. Thursday, 1-4 p.m. Friday and 8:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday.

The library board is currently exploring options of different hours to fit the needs of their community. They are looking at opening on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons.

“With COVID, we are open almost any time my car is out front,” Bishop said. 

For more information, call 641-744-2124 or follow the Linden Public Library on Facebook. Their website is www.linden.lib.ia.us and the library is located at 131 S. Main St.

Upcoming Events at the Linden Public Library

April 4-10 - National Library Week

May 1 - Storm Science children's program with Dallas County ISU Extension Office at 10 a.m.

May 2 - Canvas painting fundraiser with the Art Exchange and Gina Lloyd from 1:45-4:45 p.m. Cost is $40 for a windmill painting. The fundraiser will be held at 3384 268th Street, Linden. Call the library to reserve a spot. All materials are provided and no experience is needed

May 5 and 12 - After-school archery program with Raised At Full Draw.

STEM bags and literacy kits with the summer reading program

June 22 - Blank Park Zoo program at 1 p.m.

Weekly food pantry services through Hunger Free Dallas County