From the files found at the
The Ronan City Library has
had a long and exciting history, showing consistent
In November 1914, a brave
start was made to provide the citizens of Ronan with a
collection of books to enjoy. The effort was led by Mrs.
Bess Sterling and Miss Oyen of the Good Cheer Club.
Members of the Club and other interested individuals
donated books for the Library. Missoula Library loaned
fifty books for a month at a time. In December 1914 and
at Easter time 1915, benefit dances were held to raise
funds for the Library. These social affairs were
successful, and thus Ronan Library was on its way.
From 1915 to 1923 there is no
written record of the Library's history, but according
to non-official reports, the Library operated in a small
way during these years.
In the summer of 1923, books
were allocated from the Flathead and Missoula Libraries,
and a room was designated in the original High School
building for the Library. Representatives of the Good
Cheer Club, Mrs. Sterling, Mrs. Clubb, Mrs. Lemire, and
Mrs. Swee, helped shelve books and set up a record
system. Ronan Library had a "home" and was ready for
action. Mrs. Helen Clubb Dechent became Librarian. Other
Librarians between 1923 and 1930 were: Mrs. Margaret
Sterling Brooke, Mrs. June Stephens Sterling, and Mrs.
Ramona Stephens Hart.
In 1930 a fire destroyed the
Library, books and records, but the ladies of the Good
Cheer Club (later the Ronan Womans Club) were determined
to have a library. They went to work immediately and
secured books and supplies-mostly from individuals
around Ronan. A second library was opened in a small
room in the Elementary School and Miss Beth O'Brien
became Librarian. Miss O'Brien was followed by Miss
Marjorie Lemire, Miss Lois Lemire, and Mrs. Charlotte
Ostroot, as Librarians. The Elementary School room was
"home" for the Ronan Library for ten years.
Early in 1940, the City
Council of Ronan took the responsibility of operating
the Library and designated the small back room of City
Hall as "Ronan City Library." Mrs. Charles (Ruth) Moody
was the first Librarian paid with City funds. The
previous Librarian had been paid from the coffers of the
Good Cheer Club and Woman's Club. Mrs. Moody did the
first cataloging and classified shelving of the nearly
500 book collection.
Mrs. Knute Johnson, Mrs.
Frances Beiry Vitalich, and Miss Lucy Butcher were also
Librarians before the Library outgrew City Hall
For nearly four years Mrs.
Lee Butcher housed the Library in her home on "K" Street
and served as Librarian. Then Gamble's Store made room
for the Library in their basement. Miss Lillian
Flannagan became Librarian and held the position for
fourteen years. She supervised the move back to the City
Hall building during the fall of 1960. The Ronan City
Library was now given a larger front room, as well as
the small back room.
In 1968, Mrs. Frank (Alice)
Wolf was secured as Librarian. Mrs. Wolf did an
outstanding accomplishment in cataloging the over 6,000
book collection, using the Dewey Decimal System. In
January 1968, the City Council set up a five member
Library Board to assist the Librarian in planning and
operating a more efficient library program.
In 1971, Ronan began a unique
adventure for the City Library; securing a better and
more permanent "home" for the Library. The Ronan State
Bank had moved into a new location and were selling the
old bank building. The Library Board and the Woman's
Club went to work, incessantly, to raise money and get a
bond election passed, granting the purchase of the old
bank building. They succeeded!!! The building was
purchased, new furniture obtained, and the Open House
and Dedication of the Ronan City Library in this
excellent location was held in April 1972. To this day,
Ronan City Library resides in the same location.
Mrs. Wolf continued as
Librarian until May 1973, when Mrs. Ruth Anne Plunkett
became Librarian, with Mrs. Wolf staying on for one
year, as consultant and cataloger. Mrs. Plunkett was
Librarian until August 1983. These were good years for
the Library. The collection was greatly enlarged to
approximately 16,000 items. All types of literature,
pleasure, and reference materials were collected, mostly
through donations of friends and patrons. A large
library of paperbacks was added. These were very popular
with many of the patrons.
From August 1983 to August
1984, Miss Wendy Macklin was the Librarian. This year
the Library facilities were expanded by the addition of
shelving for the vault-room of the Library, to
accommodate additional book collection. Miss Macklin
also increased the collection with over 400 new,
up-to-date books of both fiction and non-fiction.
September 1, 1984, Mrs. Ray
(Gladys) Zahner became Librarian. Soon after taking over
the Library, Mrs. Zahner, and the Board of Trustees were
able to make plans for redecorating the Library to make
it more energy efficient. This was made possible by
grants from Burlington Northern and the Salish-Kootenai
Tribe. In December, the Library was newly painted and
new window blinds and carpet were installed. These items
added greatly to the comfort and beauty of the Library,
as well as conserving heat.
In September of 1985, Susan
Greenman was secured as part-time assistant Librarian.
Gladys and Susan worked very diligently to increase the
Library services for citizens of Ronan. They worked on
surveying the collection and updating the card catalog.
They were always very welcoming and touted themselves as
being there to serve the community. Gladys taught Susan
everything she knew about libraries and Ronan City
Library. When Gladys retired in April of 1987, Susan
took over as Librarian until September of 1989.
Marilyn Koester was Librarian
until December 2006. During her time as Librarian, many
things were accomplished, including expanding the
After training with Marilyn
for a month, in January 2007, Michelle Fenger became the
Librarian and Director.