From the post office to Town Hall, the Windsor library has lived a full life | MyWindsorNow.com

From the post office to Town Hall, the Windsor library has lived a full life

Emily Wenger
ewenger@mywindsornow.com

The Windsor Library has had many homes in its more than 100 years in existence, seeing changes in location and function.

This year the Clearview Library District is asking voters for a mill levy increase to build a new library, hoping to add a new building to its list of homes.

According to a history compiled by Judy Hergert in January 2006, the Windsor Improvement Club called public meetings in 1906 to discuss the need for a library in town. A Windsor Library Association was formed shortly after, and a board of managers was elected.

The Improvement Club donated books to the library, and purchased $200 worth of new books. Working with Robert Hanna, the postmaster at the time, books were placed at the post office on Main Street. According to Hergert, Maude Walker was the first librarian for Windsor, although she also helped Hanna at the post office if he was gone, and he did the same for her.

“Libraries are taking on the responsibility of doing a lot more than 20-30 years ago,” Hal Pearson

After spending more than 10 years in the post office, the library moved to a building on 5th and Main streets, then to a remodeled school building at Walnut and 4th streets.

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The library was leasing a building from the school district at the time, according to Hergert, and had to move in 1948 when the district sold the building to Bethel Lutheran Church. The library was given $6,000 in compensation for relinquishing its lease, and was moved to the second floor of town hall, currently the Windsor Art and Heritage Center.

Through fundraising efforts, a new library was built at 5th and Main streets for $27,000, and in 1961 the library moved in.

As the library continued to grow, its offerings changed as well. After the new building was completed, Hergert's history says magazines, records and puzzles were added to the collection.

From 1970-80, the library's circulation tripled as Windsor's population grew by 174 percent, according to Hergert.

In 1985, the Clearview Library District was formed. Ann Kling, the director of the Clearview Library District, said the law gives many options for libraries. They can be part of the town, governed like any other department, or be part of a district.

"The people in town, at the school and the town level, decided they did not want to become a part of the High Plains Library District, they wanted to be their own district," Kling said.

Being a separate district meant it had more freedom of governance, Kling said.

"We think that that separation gives us the opportunity to keep the best interests of the community in mind," she said.

With the founding of the district came more upgrades, according to Hergert. A fax machine, copier and, eventually, a computerized check-out system were added.

According to Hergert, in 1995 voters approved a property tax hike to build a new building at 720 3rd St., on land the school district gave to the library district.

Hal Pearson, who was president of the library board from 1995-2004, said one reason for the move was that residents wanted the building to be away from the downtown area.

The building at 720 3rd St., where the library still resides, opened 20 years ago, in June 1997.

During those 20 years the library has seen many changes, Kling said. About 10,000 people lived within the district boundaries, which she said are similar to those of the Windsor-Severance Re-4 School District, when the current building was opened.

Now the district serves 23,000, and Kling said that number grows every year.

A 4,000 square foot expansion was added to the current building in 2008 and 2009, Kling said, which expanded the building as much as was possible at its current site.

Now, Kling said, the library hopes to expand again, moving to a property northwest of Colo. 392 and Colo. 257, near Windsor Lake. If voters approve the property tax increase that would allow for the new library to be built, Kling said, the Clearview Library District Board of Trustees hopes to honor its history.

One way of doing so, she said, would be to offer the land where the current building sits back to the school district at market value, minus the cost of the property.

Pearson said he has seen the function of libraries change dramatically since he first became president of the board in 1995. The addition of internet access at the library and a variety of children's programming were two he said have made the library different than its initial function as a home for books.

"Libraries are taking on the responsibility of doing a lot more than 20-30 years ago," Pearson said.

History of the Windsor Library and Clearview Library District

The following is a timeline of the Windsor Public Library and Clearview Library District, compiled by Judy Hergert, with additions and updates:

1906-1919 – The Windsor Public Library was located in the post office in a small frame building east of the Windsor Mercantile Company Store, which is now Manweiler Hardware on Main Street. The small frame building was torn down in 1971, and an empty space is there now.

1919-1936 – The library was located in a small house south of the First National Bank which was located at the southwest corner of 5th and Main streets. The library association purchased the small house and lot south of the First National Bank building from the Porter estate for $550 in 1919.

1936-1948 – The library leased a remodeled school building where Bethel Lutheran Church is now located. The school district sold the building to the church to be used as an educational wing for the new church they were building on that corner at Walnut and 4th streets.

1948-1961 – The library was in the southwest room on the second floor of the town hall on 5th Street north of Pike’s.

1961-1997 – The library built a new facility south of the First National Bank near 5th and Main streets. The building was added on to in 1977.

1985 – The Clearview Library District was formed.

1997 – The library built the present building at 720 3rd St.

2008/9 – The district added about 4,000 square feet to the building at 720 3rd St., without asking for extra assistance from taxpayers.

2017 – The Clearview Library District will be asking voters for a mill levy increase in November to begin construction of a new library on Main Street.

Mill levy increase

This past year, the Clearview Library District purchased a property for a possible new library northwest of Colo. 392 and Colo. 257, near Windsor Lake. The library board decided earlier this year to put the question of a new library to voters in November. If voters approve a mill levy increase, the cost to homeowners is estimated at $5 a month for a $300,000 residential property, according to the library district.

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