In the winter of 1932-1933 the Quinter Public Library was formed with board members from nine women’s organizations in and around Quinter. A room over what is currently the Quinter Appliance was offered rent-free and books were given by individuals and families. Library hours were from two to five on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons.
The first paid librarian received twenty-five cents a week in 1937.
After being moved to several other locations, a building committee was formed in 1949 to secure a permanent location for the library. Donations totaling $2000.00 and lots of volunteer labor made the building next to the firehouse a reality. Open house was held in November of 1950.
In 1952, the board was reorganized in compliance with the Kansas Statutes. Seven members now served on the board and they all lived within the city limits.
Fourteen years later, in 1966, the Quinter Public Library applied for membership in the newly formed Northwest Kansas Library System.
The Gove County Advocate of November 6, 1980 announces the meeting of the memorial library group. It states, “The group of local residents interested in construction of a new building for the Quinter Library, as a memorial to the late Rev. Jay J. Johnson, met at a noon luncheon, Friday.” When $93,000.00 had been raised, the Friends of the Jay Johnson Public Library ordered the new building “to serve the expanding needs of the Quinter Public Library and the Quinter City Rural Fire Department.” April 18, 1982, the new facility was dedicated.
In 1999, another group met to look again at the expanding needs of the library. With the help of many of the same people, the building next to the library was acquired by the City and given to the library for another expansion. The process took nearly five years, and during alumni reunion weekend in July of 2005, an expanded JJPL was dedicated. Some of the four hundred plus people attending the celebration remembered the library over the appliance store and marveled at all the changes.
Now open forty-two hours each week and competitive wages for staff, JJPL offers an amazing gathering place for the community. From books to computers, ‘shhhhh’ to public gatherings, art displays, book discussion groups, magazines, story times for preschool children, summer reading programs for school age youngsters, audio books, videos, DVDs, the library continues to grow in space and service.
“The purpose of the Jay Johnson Public Library is to serve as a community resource by providing access to literature and technology that is educational, recreational, and entertaining.” This policy adopted by the Board of Trustees continues to challenge each day’s work and interaction with patrons. We strive to be a community place for all ages and stages.