Coal Creek Library - Vinland, Kansas
The Coal Creek Library in the unincorporated community of Vinland, north of Baldwin City, Kansas, may be the oldest library in Kansas, but today it is more of a museum. The Coal Creek Social Library Association organized on November 22, 1859 and the first 10 books arrived in February 1860. By the end of that year, there were over 100 books.
Membership dues was 50 cents/year and the books were kept in the librarian's home. In 1879 the collection was too large to be housed in members' homes and it was moved to the Vinland Grange Hall. The present building was constructed in 1899-1900 and the collection was moved into its own building in May 1900. By January 1, 1903, there were 1,250 books in the library.
Today there are over 2,000 books, but it wasn't obvious that books are still being added. Many of the books acquired in 1860 are still on the shelves and 5 of the first 10 books are displayed in a glass case. Neighbors occasionally check out a book, but for the most part, the Coal Creek Library is kept open as a museum piece.
As there are no utilities, the volunteers keep the library open only on Sunday afternoons from April to October. There are no lights and when the fan shown in the photo below is used, they run a cord to the adjacent house. There is an original wood stove, but it is inadequate in cold weather because the building is not insulated. The library is closed when the afternoon temperature is over 95 degrees.
copyright 2017 by Keith Stokes