Category: Libraries


The Salina Library and Campbell Room

The Salina Public Library collection consists of over 180,000 volumes as well as 3,000 videos. Catalog and checkout are computerized for ease of locating these materials.

An extensive Kansas history and genealogy collection is housed in the Kansas Research Campbell Room. It includes information on the plains Indians, the territorial period, Civil War years in Kansas, pioneer history, and ethnic settlement. It contains such valuable sources as emigrant guides, published journals, family genealogies, local histories, geological surveys, and historical maps.

The Children’s Department has numerous storytimes and activities.


Hays Public Library

A nationally-recognized leader for outstanding per capita usage, renovated and expanded in 2003 to match the original 1911 Carnegie library. The 39,000 square foot facility has an extensive book collection. It is also home to a dynamic young adult section, a beautiful gallery, a bookstore and an extensive Kansas collection with information about Hays, Ellis County, the Western U.S., genealogy, Volga Germans, and Hays historical walking tours. Just to the north of the library building is a marker with a bronze plaque that pays tribute and honors those men and women that served at the World War I.I. Army Air Base located east of Hays near the community of Walker.

Lower level – Kansas Collection; Adult Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Genre Books rnMain Floor – Adult Department: New Books, Largeprint Books, Audio Books, Periodicals, Reference,rn Non-English Materials, Video, Art, Internet & Reference Computers rnSecond Floor – Children’s Department; Young Adult Department rn

Forsyth Library & Special Collections Display

The library on the campus of Fort Hays State University features three floors of books, magazines, periodicals, research materials, audio books, government forms, newspapers, microforms, newspapers, historical documents and reference materials. The Library also has several unique displays that visitors can learn about the German Heritage of Ellis County through The Center for Ethnic Studies and the Catherine Model Buildings display.

Lawrence Weigel, a noted local folklorist, donated a substantial portion of his personal collection of materials on the Volga Germans to The Center for Ethnic Studies. When combined with the variety of publications from the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, this collection provides a rich source for research and educational materials for visitors to browse through. There are also a variety of pertinent reference works, bibliographies, pamphlets, journals, newspapers and dissertations published in the United States and abroad. General histories, church histories, parish registers, family histories, diaries and genealogies, obituaries, works on folklore, folk music and art make up the core of the collection. In addition, the collection contains numerous maps, photographs of bridal couples, individuals and groups. Several video documentaries and recordings of folk music and interviews are also available.

The Model Buildings display in the Special Collections Room of Forsyth Library consists of twenty-five buildings and their outbuildings from the town of Catharine. The collection includes St. Catherine Catholic Church, the school, the Sisters Convent and several houses. One of the houses is a replica of the Dorzweiler family home in Katharinenstadt, Russia. St. Andrew Episcopal Church, located north of Hays, is also represented by a model building. The models were built by Ellis County resident Jerome Schmidt, who began working on the first miniature building in 2001. In 2008, after he completed nearly 30 structures, he donated his collection to library. A description and short history for each building is available for viewing.rnThe model of the Walker Army Airfield that is on display at the Forsyth Library was completed in October 2000 by Fort Hays State University student Steve Arthur. The Walker Army Airfield was located in Ellis County, about 2 and 1/2 miles northwest of Walker. Although the land where the airbase was once located is currently on privately owned property and not open to public access, the road leading west from the town of Walker is a gravel county road that goes past what use to be the main entrance gates. The old abandoned smoke stacks, several remaining hangar buildings and many concrete foundations are visible from the road. The miniature airbase display shows the relationship of locations for several of the hangars, barracks, supply buildings and other structures that would have been located west of the main airbase runways. rnThe Walker Army Airfield began operations as a satellite field of Smoky Hill Army Air Field located in Salina. Construction on the Walker Airbase began on September 14, 1942 and within two months they had completed enough to allow for limited occupancy and the first military personnel from the Smoky Hill Army Air Field arrived. In February 1943, the airbase was given its own independent mission when the 2nd Air Force organized the 6th Heavy Bombardment Processing Headquarters. Later that year, training of B-29 crews for combat duty began and in August, the first B-29’s were brought in for training purposes. The training program of the 17th Bombardment Operational Training Wing continued to be the mission of the airbase until September 30, 1945. With the victory over Japan in August 1945, the number of training stations were decreased and eventually disposition of property became the main activity of the base during 1946. It was transferred to U.S. Army District Engineers on December 19, 1946. rnFor more information about the Walker Army Airfield and the B-29 Bomber in Kansas, visit this website. Free Admission rnHours: 8 am to 4:30 pm. Closed on Friday during the summer. rnAddress: 600 Park – South Campus Drive rnPhone: 785-628-5901rnWebsite:

Seneca Public Library

Seneca\’s library is housed in an impressive historic \”old stone church\”, built in 1867 by the Unitarian-Universalist Society and was the first church structure to be built in the community. A campaign to raise money for the church was started by Presbyterian minister Charles Parker. In 1931, the Unitarian-Universalist Society disbanded and the building became the Seneca Free Library.

The library has a collection of approximately 15,000 books, and audio and videotapes.rnAll genealogy resources are located in the \”Kansas Collection.\” History of Nemaha County, by Ralph Tennal is useful, but deteriorating. A microfiche copy is also available. The library also has several other resources on Nemaha County including compilations of birth, marriage and death records from 1885-1904. The library owns several different editions of plat maps of the county and a copy of the only cemetery book of the county. Photocopying is available at a charge of ten (10) cents per page.

Historic Library

The Blue Rapids Public Library, second site in Marshall County chosen for the National Register of Historic Buildings, was built in 1875 for a library and has served for that purpose ever since. The library has existed in one location longer than any other library in the state.

The women of the Genessee Colony of New York, who founded and settled Blue Rapids in 1870, missed the cultural advantages that had been a part of their lifestyle back east. Within a few years they had organized and became the prime instigators for a public library.

On June 27, 1874, the Ladies’ Library was opened in a store. They had managed to secure 143 books from donations. Later, a lot on the east side of the Square was donated by the Town Company as a building site. The cornerstone was laid on October 20, 1875. In 1876, the library occupied the back room awaiting completion of the building. It is the oldest library west of the Mississippi in continuous operation in the same building.

In 1941, the ladies relinquished their claim to the Library, converting it to a city library supported by a small tax levy.

The Library has many things to offer other than its historical value. These include fiction and non-fiction books for adults and children, videos, audiobooks, magazines, a copier and a micro-film reader-printer to name a few. The Blue Rapids Times from 1871 through december 28, 1989 as well as The Telegraph from January 5, 1989 through Novermber 29, 1997 are on micro-film. The original papers are bound and in the Library also.

Free Public Library

In 1901, the History and Literature Club, which had been organized in 1891, wrote a letter to Andrew Carnegie requesting his help in creating a public library in Horton. This encouraged Federated Women’s Clubs to get a tax levy for establishing a library and in 1938 with a partial grant from the WPA the new library was completed.

The library several books, photos and even a video on the history of Horton. rn