Le Mars Public Library

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History of the Le Mars Public Library

  • The original Le Mars Public Library was built in 1903 by architect John Werling with funds from industrial-financier Andrew Carnegie. The building was dedicated in 1904 and housed 3,885 books.
  • The Library remained in the Carnegie building until August 1976. At that point, the library relocated to a remodeled Red Owl supermarket purchased by the city in July 1973.
  • It wasn’t until 1986 that the iconic Le Mars Totem Pole was dedicated to the library by the Woodcarvers Association. The totem pole represents the “best of Le Mars” and includes the mascots of Le Mars Community and Gehlen Catholic, an Iowa corn stalk, a farmer and a white steeple church. In 2018, the totem pole was relocated to the Le Mars Art Center, which is currently located in the Le Mars Public Library's original home, the Carnegie building.
  • In 2017, the Le Mars Public Library was extensively renovated. The library currently houses over 33,000 physical items and offers a wide-range of electronic materials and resources. There are also numerous child and adult reading programs that occur year-round.
  • Below, from left to right, we have pictures of the original library, the Carnegie building, the Le Mars Totem Pole and the new library entrance.

Le Mars Public Library

Totem Pole 2


This resource is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by State Library of Iowa.