Rodman Public Library

Rodman Public LibraryAlliance is very fortunate to have one of the finest libraries of any city its size. Until 1886, however, there were no public or school libraries in Alliance. That year the Superintendent of Schools collected 70 books from different sources and kept them in his office for students to use. Soon a bookcase was donated, more books were purchased, and the collection of 610 volumes was moved into a room in the High School. The truant officer acted as librarian for a few years until a librarian was hired. The library was open to the public several days a week. People continued to give gifts of books and money, and eventually this room in the High School became known as the Alliance Public Library.

In 1899 members of the Board of Education saw the need for a separate building and decided to ask Andrew Carnegie for a donation. Mr. Carnegie pledged $25,000 toward the construction of a library building. Located at the corner of Arch and High Streets, the Carnegie Free Library was dedicated on September 6, 1904. It contained 7,500 books.

Improvements were made in the library's services. A separate children's department was organized in 1926. In 1938 one of our country's first trailer branches was started in Alliance. It was the beginning of the bookmobile service. The late 1940s saw the start of the audio-visual department with the circulating collection of films, filmstrips, and slides.

The single most important event in the history of the library was the opening of the new $660,000 Rodman Public Library on January 21, 1963. This big, beautiful new building was possible because of the generosity of an Alliance man, Mr. C. J. Rodman, who offered $250,000 toward a new library if the citizens would match his gift. The community more than doubled the amount, and the new facility, which now contains 156,000 volumes, became a reality. In 1972 a new addition to the Children's Room doubled the floor space, seating, and shelving capacity, and provided the children of Alliance with a beautiful place to enjoy reading.