ABOUT THE LIBRARY
The unique history behind the McDonald County Library, located in Pineville, Missouri, organized in 1942.
The biggest “little library” in the state started out with humble beginnings. Before the present library was built in 1984, the Pineville public school occupied the land at its location.
On October 2, 1947, the Missouri State Library Service brought the Bookmobile to families of McDonald County. The Bookmobile service began December 8, 1947 and continued for nearly 30 years. Ted Stoutsenberger, remained the sole driver until it was discontinued in the mid-‘70s. The Bookmobile traveled to each county town once a month, making 63 stops to local schools and nearby stores. By 1959, the Bookmobile was the main source of distribution of books to library patrons.
After being housed in a small room of donated books, the library would move into the two-story home that once belonged to the late Judge James A. Sturges. The old Sturges house in Pineville was built in the 1880s and was the home of the McDonald County Library from 1952-1984, until the new library building was built.
In 1983, a concerted fundraising effort was made throughout the county, which resulted in more than $44,000 being raised solely from public donations that would be used for a new library building. The McDonald County School System sold the Library the property to build on for $1, with stipulations that a library would be built on the land or it would revert back as school property.
A state grant, which also had stipulations, required the librarian at the time, Mrs. Zella Mae Collie, to find an architect who would come up with a design and build the library within the year or they would lose grant funding of $90,000. She was successful.
In fact, Mrs. Collie started an extraordinary genealogy collection for the Library. It is one of the best local and regional history and genealogical departments in the State of Missouri. It contains collections of census records, obituaries dating back to the 1800s, inscriptions from McDonald County Cemeteries, school annuals dating back to 1926, as well as a very well-kept collection of newspaper clippings for easy access.
Over the years, the library has expanded to reach more of the County. The Noel Community Library, established in 1981, was eventually adopted as a branch of the McDonald County Library on September 11, 1997.
The Anne Croxdale Memorial Library, built in 2010, opened to the public in 2011. Located on Main Street of Southwest City where the gas station, Croxdale Motor Station, was once located. The beautiful library has a “Wall of Honor” featuring “Legacy Bricks” that are engraved with inscriptions honoring the person or family who purchased the brick. The bricks used in the making of the “Wall of Honor” were salvaged from the old Southwest City school by Dr. Dewy Collingsworth, and were sold for $100 apiece to contribute to the building project.
The McDonald County Library system would not be possible without the dedication of many individuals. In honor of these individuals and Zella Mae Collie, the Library will strive to continue to help collect, protect, and preserve the rich history of McDonald County.
Our mission as the McDonald County Library is to meet the educational, recreational, informational, and cultural needs of the citizens of McDonald County by offering a professionally-selected and well-organized collection of materials and access to information through appropriate technologies.
Left: Once the home of Judge James A. Sturges, it served as the McDonald County Library from 1952 until 1984 when the present building was constructed on the lot of the former schoolhouse at the north end of Main Street.
Right: This sign proudly went up in 1952 after the library moved out of a single room of donated books, which had served for the first ten years of county library service.