Cresco Public Library


320 N Elm St, Cresco, IA 52136


Jordyn MacDonald




Connect with tHem

Cresco Public Library has a rich history providing the community and the county with books, education, resources, and many more services.

The Board of Trustees and staff of the Cresco Public Library provides free, unlimited access to its resources, both material and informational, to the community. In today’s society, the services of the Cresco Public Library are designated to meet the various needs of those on the community. Special emphasis is placed on providing popular materials in a timely manner, on the collection, and on programs and services for preschool children, school age children and young adults.

Service is provided as rapidly as possible and in a courteous manner. the confidentiality of library records is conscientiously guarded. The patron’s interests and needs are of paramount concern in all library operations.

We have free Wi-Fi available.


  • Mon-Wed: 9:00am – 6:00pm
  • Thurs-Fri: 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sat: 9:00am – 12:00pm
  • Sun: Closed

About the Attraction

A Carnegie Library

In 1885, the first major step toward incorporating a library for the residents of Cresco, Iowa, was made. Community members collected books and wanted to circulate these to area residents. This planned circulation of materials did not work and, therefore, were turned over to the Cresco Free Library Association. Ten years later, Augustus Beadle, the founder of Cresco, organized a home entertainment lecture system. An admission was charged to those listening to the lectures and the money collected went into the library fund.

About 1913, the library board began to discuss the possible construction of a new library building. J.H. Howe, a member of the board, and also an architect, drew up plans for a new library building. Discussions were held by the Board of Trustees to apply for funds from the Carnegie Foundation to help with the construction of the new building. Dr. D.T. Robertson, secretary of the library building committee, made a trip to New York to interview the secretary of the Carnegie Foundation. The Secretary had one objection to giving funds for the purposed project. He questioned the number of people in the community who would use the library. George S. Bobinski wrote in his book, Carnegie Libraries: Their History and Impact on American Public Library DevelopmentĀ  (American Library Association, 1969 p. 45), “Small towns, particularly those under 1000 population, were not eligible for Carnegie library grants, since separate library buildings were not considered a necessity for such localities. However, it was possible, and, indeed, urged by Carnegie officials that such small communities join together with townships so that their officials could request funds for a joint or a county library.” Local library trustees suggested extending the service territory to townships of Vernon Springs, Albion, Howard Center, and New Oregon in Howard County and the townships of Freemont and Orleans in Winneshiek County. With the addition of these population centers, Robertson came home with the $17,500 necessary for the construction of the library. Construction of a new ‘Carnegie Library’ began in 1913 and was completed in 1915. Dedication of the new Cresco Public Library was held on February 10, 1915.

Cresco Public Library is a proud member of the Cresco Area Chamber of Commerce and accepts Cresco Chamber Dollars.

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