Library History

The first meeting of the Custer County Library Committee was held on February 1, 1930. The Custer County Teacher’s Association set up the Committee and appointed eight interested persons to work on a library project and to serve as a board of trustees.

Mrs. Lou C. Beamon, County Superintendent of Schools, was instrumental in this first step in organizing a county library. In the beginning, the Library was housed in the newly constructed County Courthouse, and Mrs. Beamon served as volunteer librarian.

In 1943, the Library moved from the Courthouse to the Community Building in downtown Westcliffe. The building had been donated to the community by Mrs. D. M. Tinkham for a Community Center, with the stipulation that the Library was to be housed in it. From 1943 until the completion of a new building in 1989, the library was housed in a small room at the rear of the Community Center.

In 1989, the County Commissioners and School Board made the first tax money available to the Library by making it a taxing district. A 7 person Board of Trustees was appointed, making it possible for the Library to raise funds to build a new building in the alley adjacent to the Community Center. In 2003, the voters approved an increase in the mill levy to enable the District to cover their operational costs. In 2003, the Library Trustees paid $1 to purchase the 105 year old Community Center adjacent to the building. After locally raising half the $650,000 project cost to demolish and rebuild the Community Center and remodel the Library, expansion was started in July of 2004, completed in May of 2005.

Since that time, the Library has continued to grow its collections, programs, and community involvement. As of the end of 2022, the Library had: 2,659 active cardholders; over 40,000 visits per year; made or sent over 50,000 prints and faxes; access to over 1.7 million books, dvds and audiobooks and circulated close to 40,000 items; saw double-digit increases in both the number of programs and attendance at those programs; and added movie streaming, hotspots for checkout, and an ever-increasing Library of Things.