Though Callaway County Public Library has been around since 1908 in one form or another, in 1960, library board members did something that would vastly expand the library's resources and reach.
They voted to join the recently formed Daniel Boone Regional Library system.
DBRL celebrated its 60th anniversary on Tuesday with a reception and a display of photos and documents from throughout the library's history. Library patrons and employees, old and new, gathered to sip punch, nibble cookies and page through memories.
"I'm happy to see how the library has grown and is serving more places," Betty Maddox said.
Though Maddox refers to herself as a Callaway County transplant — having grown up in Iowa — she's lived in Fulton for more than 70 years and was one of the early DBRL board members.
"We organized to help make (the library) stronger," she said. "I grew up loving to read and used to visit the local library a lot because our one-room school house only had a small library. I wanted (a good library) available for my children."
The Fulton Public Library was born in 1908 after members of the library association fund-raised the needed $500. Initially hosted in two rooms of the Oddfellows' building, in 1911, board members secured $12,000 from the Carnegie Foundation for the construction of a new library building. Though it's been expanded and renovated since, that building still holds CCPL.
In 1959, Fulton's population had increased significantly. Visits from a state bookmobile helped serve the needs of the growing population. Children enjoyed story times led by librarians and summer reading programs, traditions which continue today.
That year, the library's board of trustees voted to enter a contractual service agreement with the Callaway County Library — which was, itself, founded in 1959 and a member of the Daniel Boone Regional Library. The Callaway County Library and Fulton Public Library merged at the end of a one-year period.
Many visitors Tuesday held fond memories of the library. Historian Carolyn Paul-Branch now works as a library assistant and was a frequent visitor as a child.
"We moved to Fulton when I was 10, and this was one of the first places I visited," she recalled. "I was probably barefoot and dirty. There was a table upstairs with stereopticon postcards, probably from the turn of the century We spent a lot of time passing those cards around."
She remembered graduating from picture books to "Anne of Green Gables" at the recommendation of a librarian.
"And, as a young mother, I trudged through the snow to check out a book on baby names," she said. "It's always been part of my life."
Adult Services Librarian Sherry McBride-Brown's first real job was shelving books at the library; she's worked there since the 70s.
"We have good community support, and we appreciate our community," she said.
Sara Henry is the library's current manager. She's been with the library since January, and she said diving into the archives to prepare for this event was a great way to get to know its history.
"It's neat to see how traditions have continued," she said. "Story time started more than 40 years ago, and it continues today. There are people who went to story time as a child and now bring their own children."