Webster City, IA - Kendall Young Library

Community Organization in Webster City, IA

Established through an endowment left by Kendall Young in 1896, the Kendall Young Library was established to serve the community of Webster City. A free public library, the Kendall Young Library provides essential services for all ages.  We serve the information, educational, and recreational needs of the community through carefully considered collections, early literacy programs, summer reading programs for all ages and varied programming. The Kendall Young Library also provides valuable community space for a variety of organizations and groups.                        

Mission Statement

In accordance with Kendall Young's wishes expressed in his will (Provision 10), Its (Kendall Young Library's) purpose is to provide "such books and reading matter as shall be helpful and instructive to the mass of the people of the city." The library strives to:

Provide information on current topics    Provide recent titles for recreational reading    Answer reference questions on topics related to work, school and personal life    Encourage lifelong learning by providing development opportunities for all ages from toddlers to senior citizens    Facilitate learning through the use of multiple formats and new technologies    Facilitate research in family and local history


When Kendall Young passed away in 1896 the citizens of Webster City were surprised to learn that Mr. Young had left his estate valued at $150,000 to the City of Webster City, in trust, "for the establishment and maintenance of a free public library." The construction of the Beaux Arts style library was completed in 1905 at a cost of $50,000. Special features included gold marble columns from Africa, terrazzo and mosaic floors, stained glass windows and a stained glass dome.

In 1984 a fundraising campaign was started to raise money for an addition to the library. After receiving two donations, each in excess of one million dollars and many smaller gifts, the architectural firm of Meyer, Scherer and Rockcastle was hired to design a seamless addition. Construction began in March 1997 and was completed in November of 1998. The original library was 9600 sq. ft. and the expansion increased the size to 22,300 sq. ft. The beauty of the original building was maintained and stained glass windows and terrazzo floors were included in the expansion to enhance the appearance of the seamless addition.

Library Special Collections

Abastenia St. Leger Eberle Sculpture Collection - Abastenia Eberle was born in Webster City in 1878 but only lived in Webster City for four years. As an adult she studied sculpture at the Art Students League in New York City. The sculpture 'Puerto Rican Mother and Child' c. 1901, displayed at Kendall Young Library, was Abastenia's earliest attempt to model life that she saw around her. Immigrants and street children were models for most of the 21 sculptures on display at the library.                      

The Foster Doll Collection - This collection of 170 dolls was donated to the library in 1944 by Arch Foster and his son James after the death of Mr. Foster's wife Evelyn. Mrs. Foster had collected the dolls during the last 15 years of her life. The collection includes many types of dolls including Frozen Charlottes, dolls from the Kate Greenaway series, Waxed head dolls, Papier-mache dolls and Parian dolls. The oldest doll is a waxed head doll from 1800.

The Van Ness Native American Collection - Mr. Van Ness lived in Hamilton County from 1882-1895. When his wife died he moved to El Reno, Oklahoma and began to collect Native American artifacts. In 1898 Mr. Van Ness offered "curios of Indian work" to Kendall Young Library and asked that the library "provide for their preservation." Forty-two items collected by Mr. Van Ness are on display in the Juvenile Department of the library. An Arapaho dance bustle ca. 1875 is the oldest item in the collection.

Jane Young Stained Glass Window - The windows were presented to St. Paul's Universalist Church by Mrs. Jane Young in 1898.  Charles R. and Joan M. Stauduhar donated the Jane Young Window to Kendall Young Library in 1992 when the church was scheduled for demolition.  The original window was located at the front of the church facing Bank Street and measured 6' by 14'6".  In 1998 a stained glass firm was hired to remove the arch and divide the window into two sections so they could be installed in the library addition.  Two lower horizontal panels were moved to the top of each window to complete the redesign.

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Webster City, IA - Kendall Young Library

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Hamilton County, IA

Hamilton County, IA

Visit our county page and you will find information about our town and county's points of interest, festivals/events and faith community. You also will find stories about the contributions made by farmers/ranchers located throughout our county and of course you will learn about the community organizations that have built and continue to build strong communities (chambers, community groups, and departments, etc) and much more when you visit the Hamilton County, IA page.