History

The earliest verifiable mention of a library in Orchard was in a 1903 edition of the Orchard News. However, in a special edition of the Orchard News dated October 23, 1908, it stated that S.T. Sherman had been the librarian for fourteen years. If that was the case, the library was in existence in 1894. The March 26, 1903 edition of the Orchard News states that the Orchard Library Association met at the J.W. Harmon Drug Store. Mr. S.T. "Tite" Sherman was elected president. Mrs. Sherman was to be in charge of the books and the library would remain under the management of the Owl Club. The wording of the article suggests that there was indeed a library in Orchard before this date. By 1905 the association had thirty-one members paying dues of $1.00.
For some reason, in 1914, two books per family were distributed from the "old library" under the direction of Mrs. A.C. King, agent for the City Library Commission.
The Library is governed by a five-member Library Board. The first Board was formed in 1922. Members were Mrs. Ernest Bruce, Mrs. Ed Bubbs, Mrs. Ed Hering, Mrs. Fred Drayton, Mrs. Richard Dallam and Mrs. John Harmon. Library Board members are appointed by the Village Board and serve four-year terms. The Library Board sets policy for the Library and submits an annual budget to the Village Board. Current Board members are:


Jana Wilhelm - President
Amanda Shabram - Secretary
Martha Drayton
Kate Watson
Jessica Shaver


The Orchard Public Library has been located in various establishments in Orchard. In 1907 it was located in the school building and later that year was moved to the Sherman Shoe Shop. By 1911 it had been moved to the Terrill Paint Shop. In 1922 it was in the "old town hall" and was later moved to the Walmer Bakery and the Drayton building. At one time it was in the J.C. Alexander building. The library was moved to its present location in the "new town hall" building in 1930. Since then it has seen three remodels. The first in 1950, when a room was added to the back of the building to house the library. Public restrooms were added at the front. The second remodel was in 1979 when the library area was enlarged and new paneling, carpeting, heating, lighting and shelving were installed. In 2000 the garage portion of the building was remodeled as a multi-purpose room and the entire library was re-carpeted.
The library seems to have operated mostly on donations until 1924 when $.05 per week was charged for use of a book. At that time the library was sponsored by the Wimodausis Club. Also in 1924 the Library Board approached the Village Board for financial support and received $15.00. By 1956 the library was receiving $6.00 per month from the Village Board. That amount has increased gradually over the years to the present amount.
Librarians salaries ranged from strictly volunteer to $50 a year to the current salaries. Some of the past librarians were: Mrs. S.T. Sherman, Glen Peters, Mrs. C.A. Jones, Nona Dunaway, Florence Bubbs, Doris Hoxsie, Millie Lou Hildreth, Rozella Bruce, Olive Everhart, Edna Liebsack, Ruth Blain, Mary Lou Edwards, Irene Nelson, Jeannine Kellogg, Zatha Fletcher and Linda Risinger. Current staff members are:
Donna Hamilton - Library Director
Joan Maple - Aide
Gretchen Holliday - Aide

Shari Van Ostrand - Custodial

The library collection has grown from ninety-three books in 1903 to 306 books in 1924 to 2,750 books in 1949 to over 13,900 items at the present time. The collection now includes books, magazines, microfilm, audio books on CD, video tapes and DVDs.

In 1991 the library purchased its first computer for use by the staff in cataloging materials and keeping records. Eight computers are now available for both staff and public use. The library offers access to the Internet for public and staff via Rise Broadband with a networked broadband connection and WiFi. In 2005 the library received a Library Improvement Grant from the Nebraska Library Commission to automate the card catalog and circulation system. The card catalog is available for searching by home computer users through the library's homepage at orchardpubliclibrary.org. The library is able to use several reference databases (NebraskAccess) provided by the Nebraska Library Commission through funding from the Nebraska Legislature for public and staff use. In October 2015 the library joined the OverDrive consortium provided by the Nebraska Library Commission and now offer loans of downloadable e-books and audio books.