In 1955 a civic Improvement committee decided it was time Milo had a library. A Library Committee was appointed, and the city allowed $20 a month for library expenses. Emma Hollingsworth was appointed as the first librarian. She used her dining room equipped with her own bookshelves and books for the library. The State Traveling Library rotated 150 books to Milo along with about 400 donated titles from residents and organizations. By 1957 the library had 600 titles and was open 12 hours per month. Mrs. Hollingsworth retired in 1971 and Betty Miller was hired as Librarian. The books and shelves were moved to the Lions Club building on Main Street. For many years the Milo Lions provided the building free of charge, provided electric and gas for the library, and building maintenance. The Library Board of Trustees was formed in 1972. Financial support was given by the city, and two bordering townships. Later the county levied a tax and replaced the township support. (Reprinted from the Milo Centennial History Book.)
Paula Griggs was hired as the librarian’s assistant in November of 1979. She began taking classes to become accredited with the State Library of Iowa. She was hired as Director in 1987 with the retirement of Betty Miller. She retired from the library in October of 2010.
In 2005 Renee Hembry was hired as Assistant Librarian. She received her Certification in 2007. She was hired as the Director in 2010 with the retirement of Paula Griggs. In 2010 Sherilyn Kimzey was hired as Assistant Librarian.
Programs for children and adults were held in the library in very cramped quarters.
In 1982 the Lions club began a project to double the size of the library with volunteer labor. A grant from the Kinney Lindstrom Foundation and the tremendous community support furnished and carpeted the new addition. This addition offered great opportunities for children’s programming and collection development.
In the early 2000’s the city of Milo purchased the building from the Milo Lions Club, also assuming the insurance, heating, cooling, and lights.
As the collection filled the shelves and the shelves filled the floor space the library once again found itself in cramped quarters. With the help of the Central Iowa Library Service Area consultant, plans were drawn up for a complete remodel and rearrangement of the library. A $5000 matching grant was written and received by the Warren County Philanthropic Partnership. The City Council agreed to pay the matching $5000 to win the grant, leaving $5000 left to complete the project. Through many donated hours of time, labor, money, the community and surrounding area pulled together to complete the remodel fund raising. In August of 2007 the library was completely emptied by volunteers, staff, and board members. The wall to the middle store room was tore out to enlarge an area for the children’s room. New shelving, carpet, and paint was ordered and the work began. All new wiring, water heater, ceilings and insulation of the outside walls was done. New drywall now covered the cement block exterior walls providing a much warmer building in the winter. The city also replaced the windows. Everything received a new coat of paint and new carpet throughout. Linda Murray, a local artist, designed a children’s area that gives a feel for the outdoors, changing seasons, and desire to read!
Jack Fischer, a local wood worker, designed and built the wood cabinets and trim in the entry giving it the rich, warm, welcoming atmosphere we were looking for when out patrons come in. 3 new public access computers with High Speed Internet capabilities were also installed in the addition, often with a waiting list to use them.
At the present time, the library has a budget of $33,600, circulates about 12,000 items annually, and over 7000 people used the library last year. The library holds over 13,500 items including books, periodicals, large print, books on tape and CD, movies, and newspapers. It carries over 1000 cardholders.