Argos Public Library serves both Green and Walnut townships which includes the town of Argos. According to the 2010 Census, we have a total of 3850 patrons, 1103 in Green Township, and 2747 in Argos and Walnut Townships.
From the intersection of Michigan Road (Old US 31) and Walnut Street (SR 10), travel 1 block north on Michigan St.. The library sits on the west side of the street and is a two story white building.
The Argos Public Library had a very modest start. In 1935, the Monday Club began discussing the possibility of opening a public library in the town of Argos. A select committee composed of Mrs. L.W. Slaytor, Mrs. S. A. Kosanke, and Mrs. Christine Tate began formulating plans that led to the formation of APL.
After searching for both funds and books, the library opened on January 11, 1936. Later, on January 25th, the Argos Boy Scouts conducted a house-to-house field search for book donations. Several moneymaking events were conducted by other interested organizations that donated much needed and much appreciated money to the new library.
The library was first located behind the clerk-treasurer’s office on East Walnut Street. When the clerk-treasurer’s office was moved to a new location behind the bank, the library followed, sharing space with the WPA recreation project for children.
It was announced on April 30, 1942 that the library would be moved to its new location in the City Building of Argos. May 5th, 1942, which was also Election Day, was chosen as the opening day. The library board had chosen Election Day since there would be an increased number of people in town who might be interested in the opening of the new facility.
Originally, the financing of the library was taken care of through donations. In 1942, however, it began to receive funds through taxation. Green and Walnut Townships were merged into the library district in 1952 so all of the community citizens would be paying an equal tax rate for library support.
Charles Schoonover, a retired local businessman, donated a historic building in downtown Argos to be used as the public library building. This building consists of two older buildings dating from the 1870’s that were joined and used for over 100 years as a retail dry goods establishment which was a major landmark for not only Argos but Marshall County and beyond. These historic buildings have been restored to their original storefront appearance to once again be an anchor for the downtown area. The APL board is committed to keeping the library downtown and making it a focus point of activities for the community.
Renovation began on October 27, 2003. Demolition of the interior and excavation were done so the addition foundation could be poured. While such old buildings seem to reveal surprises as we uncovered more of its skeleton, a pleasant surprise was the uncovering of the old wood ceiling in the north downstairs. This ceiling displays old paint in rather good condition with primitive stenciling on it and can be viewed at the library.
After a myriad of renovation set-backs, the move into the building was made in December, 2009 with the work of many volunteers and staff. The Lions Club, Argos Volunteer Firemen as well as many local patrons, friends, and staff (past and present) helped move the materials and furniture. The library opened for it’s first day of business at 142 N Michigan Street on January 05, 2010.
The public response to the library has been very positive and our circulation has increased significantly, especially all through the first year. Patrons like the comfortable feel of the building plus nearly twice the space for everyone to enjoy.
Margaret Neff served as head librarian for over 35 years. Joan Tapp, Marizetta Kenney, Alice Morrill, Catherine Williams, Shirleen Martens, Elaine Snodgrasse, and presently Jane Hall have followed Margaret.