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Our History

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Bookman Club 1897

The Bookman Library was established in 1897 by the first Holton literary group, The Bookman Club, who organized the preceding year. The young women were the sole support of the library. Members acted as volunteer librarians.

Bookman Club 1897

​On April 4, 1919, by vote of the people, the city of Holton took over the ownership of the library in order to make a city levy for support. The library was in rented quarters, 430 1/2 Pennsylvania (old Kansas State Bank), 420 1/2 New York Avenue, 213 1/2 West 5th (upstairs of the Gilk's Potato Chip Factory), 311 New York Avenue until 1952 when the current library facility was built and occupied.


With a generous trust from Edward S. Beck, and a bequest from the Jesse and Nellie Bender Family the Beck Bookman Library was built. The library is named in honor of  Major and Mrs. Milton Moses Beck, pioneer residents of the town, and the Bookman Club.  The children's room is named The Bender Room in honor of the Bender Family. Mrs. Bender (Nellie Wenner) was a charter member of the Bookman Club. An addition was built in 1995.

The library houses the book collections of Edward S. Beck, former managing editor of the Chicago Tribune and William Volker of Kansas City, Missouri. Mr. Volker was a successful industrialist and philanthropist, who married Rose Roebke of Holton, a member of the Bookman Club.



To see our history in photos please visit

It is our mission at Beck Bookman Library to provide access to a world of literature and learning through a variety of media.  We seek to serve a community of all ages and interests, creating a centralized resource center that

meets the increasing need for information.

The library is supported by municipal, county, and state funds as well as charitable gifts and trusts. It is governed by a seven member board.

Board Meeting Time:
Third Tuesday evening of each month,
6:00 p.m. at the library.

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