History of Camden County Library District

The Library first opened its doors in 1933 when the Women's Literary Club of Camdenton decided to establish a library for Camden County.

The first library was only open on Saturday afternoons and was located in the jury room of the Camden County Courthouse. However, during the week books had to be stroed in the basement of the Courthouse.  A permanent room was provided when the book collection began to grow.  Within a year a librarian was hired to work Saturdays and was paid 50 cents for every afternoon worked.  By this time the inventory showed that the collection had grown to 645 books and over 100 magazines, which were available to the public.

In 1963, a tax levy was passed alllowing the creation of the Camden County Library District.  During this time the Library was still housed in the Courthouse.  In mid-1963 the Camden County Library District joined with Pulaski and Laclede counties and the city of Lebanon to form the Kinderhook Regional Library System.  In 1964 Webster County and the city of Marshfield joined this system.

In June of 1964 the Masonic Building in Camdenton was leased by the Kinderhook System and the Camdenton Library moved in. But in December 1973 disaster struck, in the form of fire, about 60% of the collection and equipment was destroyed.  By this time the LIbrary also had the bookmobile and mail-a-book services.  The Sunrise Beach branch opened their doors in July of 1975 and Osage Beach opened in October of 1975.

In June of 1977, the Board of Trustees chose to withdarw from the Kinderhook Library System and on January 1, 1978 the Camden County Library District became independent once more an a professional librarian was hired.  By 1979, branches were opened in Stoutland in February and Climax Springs in the same year.

The Masonic Building continued to serve as the Camdenton Library until May 1980.  The Board, working with Camden County Court, purchased the First National Bank building at 35 Camden Court.  Renovations were completed and the doors were opened on September 22, 1980.  

December 1, 1982 brought about change to Climax Springs, in the form of a new building to call home.  The year 1983 marked our 50th anniversary and to celebrate a contest was held to create a logo for the Library with a $50 prize going to the winner, Andrea Whitehead.

Macks Creek opened a branch in July of 1984 and was located on Main Street adjacent to Hwy. 54.  In 1985, the Climax Springs branch moved to another new location and was housed in the Climax Springs Community Building.

In 1986, Sunrise Beach received an addition, giving them 168 square feet, which allowed for a Children's Corner.  The expansion took 6-8 weeks and by August they moved into their new space.

In October 1987, groundbreaking began for a new facility for the Osage Beach branch.  the site was across the street from the City Hall, where they had been housed since 1975.  In Feburary 1988 the new building was open for business.

In 1990, patrons were asking that the Sunrise Beach branch move to a larger facility, having outgrown their space at the Community Center.  With the coming of 1992, the purchase of the Sunrise Center was made, with intentions of it becoming the new Sunrise Beach Library.  In 1993 the Sunrise Beach library was moved to this location.

By 1994, the Camdenton Library was in need of more space, in order to house a growing collection.  The year 1995, brought about change, as the Library expanded beyond books and into the technology age, with the addition of access to the information super highway known as the Internet.

In June 1999, the announcement was made that the Camdenton Library planned to build a new faility and would be located on the old J Bar H rodeo grounds.  Groundbreaking for this new building took place on October 20, 1999.  On September 11, 2000, the doors to this new building were open for business.  A grant through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation made it possible for the Library District to upgrade its computer access in 2001-02.

The Macks Creek Library also received a new building in 2003, when Walter and Norma Hedges gave the current building to the Camden County Library District.  For a short time the Osage Beach Library was moved to the basement of the City Hall during 2003 for expansion.  During this time, Sunrise Beach also received renovations to the outside of their facility.

The Stoutland Library moved into a new building in 2006, a memorial garden was dedicated to Judge Franklin on April 13, 2007, in 2008 Climax Springs built a new building and in 2009 a memorial garden dedicated to Kenneth Apperson was added in 2009, and in 2012 Sunrise Beach updated their interior.

The Macks Creek Library was remodeled during 2015.