Expanding Services

1922 - Elizabeth Barr Arthur was appointed librarian on December 29th.

Elizabeth Barr Arthur

1923 - The Librarian's Annual Report for the year includes 1,822 books added, 311 books mended and 442 overdue notices mailed.

1926 - More than 1,200 reference questions were looked up for patrons.

Pearl Edson became the assistant librarian.

1927 - The first story hour for children was offered by librarian Pearl Edson.

1928 - Elizabeth Arthur resigned to purchase the Johnson County Herald, which she operated until 1938.

1929 - During the Great Depression, Pearl Edson's leadership and sacrifice saw the library through hardship that might otherwise have closed its doors. Her daughter said that her mother "worked for next to nothing" through those years.

Pearl Edson

1930s - The fine policy read: "A fine of two cents a day, except Sundays and holidays will be charged for books kept overtime. A further charge of two cents for mail notice and after one week, twenty-five cents for messenger, will be made when necessary."

1940s - A newspaper interview with Pearl Edson quotes her as saying that "...the nicest people in town come to the library. During the war, when things were very unsettled, lonely girls used to come in and sit in the rocking chair by the fireplace and talk to me. When they were being moved to another town they always stopped by the library to say good-bye and thank me."

1950s - The library began assisting at least one book discussion group. The group had to remain small because the library usually only had one copy of the book, which had to be shared within a month's time.

1951 - Nannie Anderson Hogue, an original board member, remained on the board until 1951, when she resigned.

1952 - The Johnson County Library system was established. Although the Johnson County Civic Planning Council recommended a merger of the two systems, the Olathe Library board unanimously opposed the merger.

1958 - A children's reading room was established in the basement of the Carnegie building. The Board approved a bill for ice cream cones for the children who attended the last story hour of the summer.

Ed Compton began working at the library. He was appointed Head Librarian/Director in 1961, and held that position until 1988. In 1974, with the help of Ward Horton, he arranged for a group to meet at the Olathe Public Library to discuss forming a local historical chapter. This led to the founding of the Olathe Historical Society.

Ed Compton