Collinsville Library plays a vital role in the history of what was once a little pioneer town in Indian Territory. In 1903 a group of women formed the Comedy of Errors Book Club. Their first order of business was to adopt the project of founding a library for Collinsville, Oklahoma. Their first books were donated from a Methodist Church organization and were kept in the home of COE founder, Mrs. J.A. Tyner. The books were moved to several locations in downtown Collinsville until in 1911 when the books found a permanent home in a room on the second floor of the new city hall. Members of the COE club and The Women’s Council operated the library for the public. The members of the COE club held teas, talent shows, and benefits to purchase books for the library. They even had a ‘book shower” which brought in books from women’s groups all over the state.
In 1913 Clyde Bollman and J.B. Potter went “back east” to secure funds from the Carnegie Foundation. The City Fathers went east, but the City Mothers sent them. They were granted $7500 to erect a building on land furnished by Collinsville. The new building was started in 1915 and at the dedication on July 20, 1917, the members of the COE Club were given a glowing tribute for starting and keeping the project alive, and for the 1500 books they gave to the library.
The new library, located on a 100 by 140 foot lot on the corner of 13th and Main, was a one story building with a basement, built of brick and stone with a tile roof, and made fireproof throughout.
In 1962 a countywide vote decided that a new city-county library system would be adopted. The Carnegie Collinsville Library closed on June 30, 1962, and the Collinsville Branch Library of the Tulsa City-County Library System opened its doors on July 1, 1962. In 1999 the collection from the library was moved to a small store front on Main Street, back to one of the first homes of the CV Library, while the entire building was renovated and expanded. On April 6, 2000, the Collinsville Library once again opened its doors to an increase in square footage from 3,260 to 7,860, an expanded collection, a children’s corner with a bay window, a neon teen center sign, a stained glass window, 11 computers, videos, CD’s, DVD’s, and the only elevator in town. The budget for this library renovation was over $800,000. The renovations maintained the historical integrity of the original Carnegie Library. The library still proudly displays the inlaid stone that designates it as a Carnegie Library.
In a Tulsa World article dated Sunday, May 26, 1940, The Librarian, Mrs. Ollie B. Howell, states that the library is the headquarters for many youngsters every day after school. In 2002 the same holds true. As soon as school is out, the youngsters from the middle school walk to the library to read, visit, use the computers and complete their homework. Parents bring their youngsters throughout the day. The high school students rush in to complete reports and homework assignments in the evening. Each year the library hosts a summer reading program for the children and teens and a winter reading program for the adults.
Magicians, American Indian storytellers, puppets, musicians, “Will Rogers”, “Woody Guthrie”, and a long list of programs have entertained children and adults in the meeting room. The Patchworkers, a library quilting group, was formed in 2001. The Friends of the Collinsville Library host a membership gala each December with a live band, dinner, and a silent auction. Summer evenings resound with music during Concerts on The Library Green.
The citizens of Collinsville have always loved their library. That care, concern, and love has held true since 1903 when the COE first met and made the library a priority until today when the current COE Club meets once a month to discuss the book of the month.
As well as being an integral part of the community, the library’s goal is to provide the opportunity for many happy memories for our customers and to continue the tradition started by a handful of pioneers in 1903.