A New Building

1976 - The Librarian's Annual Report for the year showed that 74% of Olathe residents had library cards. The library circulated 158,651 books, an increase of 20,000 over 1975. In a single, record-breaking day, Olatheans checked out 1,068 books. Over 3,000 new library cards were issued that year. The library holdings numbered close to 39,000 volumes. Over 150 children attended Story Hour on August 10th with Chucko the Clown. Ten times that number attended Story Hour throughout the year.

1977 - The board signed a contract with architect Kurt von Achen to draw up plans either for an expansion of the existing building or for a new facility. Plans for a special bond election to finance the construction got underway. Under the capable leadership of Mrs. Betty Hodges, the Board took its case for a new building to the Olathe voters and won approval for $1.6 million dollars on November 8th.

1978 Groundbreaking
Photo courtesy of the Olathe News

1979 - Construction of the library expanded over a year. The library was closed Thursday, November 15th, and the John F. Ivory moving company arrived at 8 am the next day to move 45,000 books to the new facility for a $4,270 price tag.

 

Move-In Day

At the groundbreaking, Betty Hodges, the board president said,

"We've tried to work out everything that is humanly possible. We've always told them we wanted a perfect building."

Sadly, Mrs. Hodges passed away a few weeks before the new library was opened. During the dedication ceremony on December 16th, a bronze plaque was unveiled honoring her contributions to the city and its library. It reads: "For that part of her life and spirit, so freely given here, this library is dedicated in memory of Betty Gibson Hodges."