The first Augusta library was started in September 1911. City members had worked on the project of securing a public library for over a decade before the doors opened. The library was located in the City hall and was open Friday afternoon from 2 until 5 to give out application blanks to those who wished to apply. Books were given out on Saturday to those who had their applications properly filled in.
In January, 1901 when the effort of organizing the public library was first started, donations totaling $570 were collected as proof that the town was truly interested in the project. The committee wanted to raise $1,000 before any “definite action” be taken.
Miss Maude LeRoy was the first to encourage the organization of the committee and recommended ways to maintain a library in a city the size of Augusta.
Prior to the library opening, ninety seven books were purchased totaling $56.64. Other books were secured from the state and county traveling library collections, which would remain in Augusta on a rotating basis to be removed some months later and replaced with other titles for little to no cost. All together the starting collection was 241 books.
During its first month, the library was open 12 times and registered 102 patrons. 186 books were circulated with rental fees of $230 being paid. These fees, along with $.68 paid in fines, were used by the library to cover current expenses and purchase new books.
One hundred years later, we have in-house 12, 543 books, 1519 videos, and 715 audio materials with access to MORE and over a million items available at the press of a button—often within a weeks time. Our operating budget, provided almost entirely through city and county funds, is over $99,000 annually. In 2010, our annual circulation was 33,666 items with any given month averaging about 2550 items.