of The Palouse branch of WCL
March 8, 1920, the Palouse Public Library had its beginning
when a social club of 20 women, the Xenodican Club, became
a member of the State Federation of Women's Clubs. Membership
in this Federation required a club to have a definite
aim of service to their community. After careful consideration,
the Xenodican members chose to build a public library
Members of the Xenodican Club of Palouse
are honored in 2003 for 80 years of service to that library.
was a large undertaking as the club had neither money
nor books. The Episcopal Guild members offered the club
about 20 books which were in the old Parish House and
also a room in which to start the library. Members asked
permission from the City Council to get donations for
the Library. Then the women went from door to door asking
people to give books. The response was generous.
in 1920, the City Council offered the use of the City
Hall, a Block north of Main Street, for a library location.
Books were moved to the new site by the armloads, by children's
wagons and by a Dodge touring car. Lumber was purchased
to build shelves and each member donated her share of
the cost of curtains and rods. So, a library was born!
the beginning, Xenodican Club members took turns keeping
the library open one afternoon a week. Late in 1920, after
moving to the City Hall, it was open two afternoons and
two evenings a week.
1925, the club felt the need for more money to support
the growing number of services offered by the library.
On September 11, a committee met with the City Council
to ask for city support and in the 1926 city budget, $100
was appropriated for the library. This amount was increased
later. In 1923 each member was assessed $3.00 a year to
pay the salary of a librarian. Other donations and assessments
were needed constantly, but each one felt the library
must continue. Finally, during the Depression years it
was necessary to drop the special assessment of $3.00
each and the City of Palouse assumed payment of the librarian's
projects were always underway. Members also had annual
clean-up days, as well as other types of work days when
husbands joined in. They built shelves and did other carpentering
necessary to the Library.
money-making projects over the years have brought to the
library many things besides books. They have maintained
the inside of the building, as well as the outside grounds;
provided paint for the walls, drapes for the windows,
tile for the floor, an aluminum storm door, a librarian's
glass topped desk and reading tables. Shrubs, trees and
grass have been planted and flowers seeded and tended
July, 1947, the Palouse Library contracted with the new
Whitman County Rural Library District. At the time, there
were 3,000 books on the shelves. Since affiliating with
the county system, the County Library Director has taken
charge of all book selections and employs the librarian.
However, the Palouse Librarian is still a member of the
Xenodican Club, as most have been. The club also continues
the annual clean-up day and fund-raising projects for
needed improvements of the building and grounds.