Sedalia Missouri Sedalia Public Library

A group of prominent individuals from Sedalia met in White's Hall on Ohio street and formed the Sedalia Library Association in 1871 and established the community's first privately-funded library and reading room. The first library was created by Colonel A. D. Jaynes. Unfortunately, this private library was not successful because of a lack of funds and the books were sent to the Queen City Seminary; however, the school burned down a few years later. Between 1879 and 1880 the Library Association added twenty-five women to its membership. In 1893 the basement of the courthouse shared the Association’s library with the Sedalia Natural History Society. The library was located in the west room in the courthosue basement.

By 1899 the Natural History Society and the County Court asked the library to relocate to another building. Sedalia businessman David E. Smith appealed to Andrew Carnegie to provide funds for a free public library. Carnegie’s secretary responded: “If Sedalia will agree to provide a suitable site and spend $4,000 per year upon the maintenance of a library, Mr. Carnegie will provide $50,000 for a library building.”

In 1900, the board of directors of the Free Public Library selected and purchased a site and erected a new library at Kentucky and Third Street. The Boston architectal firm of Shepley, Rutan, & Coolidge and St. Louis partner John Lawrence Mauran worked with librarian F. M. Crundon of the St. Louis Public Library and librarian M. E. Anderson of the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh to develop the library. However, A. D. Millar oversaw the construction in Sedalia. The architectural style of the exterior of the building is Greek Revival with exterior terra cotta walls, four large limestone columns and a triangular pediment in the front, a limestone foundation, and many terra cotta embellishment decorations complete the structure. The interior consisted of a golden oak wood finish that complimented the furnishings. On July 30, 1901 the Sedalia Public Library opened after a formal dedication ceremony. Children in Sedalia could check out books from the large children’s room and patrons had access to reference materials in a general reading room

Mrs. Sarah E. Smith and Mrs. Martha E. Cotton, daughters of the original founder of Sedalia, donated books and art to the library from their personal collections. Missouri Senator George G. Vest also donated books to the library from his personal library.

In 1933 the town organized community activities for the 100th anniversary of the development of Pettis County that recognized the founding of the Sedalia Library Association. Between the 1950s and 1960s the Public Library struggled with preserving their historic building. In the 1960s the Sedalia Public Library affiliated itself with the Boonslick Regional Library system in order to share resources. On January 10, 1980 the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Sedalia Public Library continues to serve many patrons and organizations today as it fulfills its mission: "Bringing individuals, information, and ideas together."



311 W 3rd St, Sedalia, MO 65301