Q: What is the history of the De Soto Library?
Before the Johnson County Library had funding, volunteers ran a number of libraries throughout the county in the 1950s. In De Soto, a self-service library was located in the Ross Electric and Plumbing Company. This library was closed by 1956 when regular bookmobile service was established.
As time passed and the county grew, a more permanent library presence was needed in De Soto. The Coker family built a 1,200 square foot building and rented it to JCL for a nominal amount. This library location opened on October 21, 1967 and had an initial collection consisted of 3,000 titles.
By the 1980s, this building and others in Gardner and Spring Hill were in need of replacement. In an effort to improve access to other state and local services, library branches were combined with Johnson County Multi-Service Centers. This new building with combined services was opened in 1982. When the Multi-Service Centers moved out of libraries in the 1990s, space was available to expand the collection and provide public computers.
The 2015 Comprehensive Library Master Plan reports that the current De Soto Library is too small to meet community needs, and its current site cannot accommodate the projected need in De Soto for approximately 20,000 sq. ft. of library space. As an alternative to acquiring a site and developing a standalone new building, JCL could look for opportunities to acquire and convert an existing building and/or to develop a facility in partnership with another agency.
Items circulated: 43,360
Square footage: 3,776
Article researched and originally written by Jerry C. Roy, 2010
Edited and updated by Traci M., 2019