It’s a long time — 118 years.
That’s how long ago the original public library was built in Fremont.
The Fremont Public Library was built in 1903 on the corner of Military and Park avenues, where the Runza restaurant is now.
Library history indicates it was the first of the 68 Carnegie libraries in Nebraska and was constructed when Fremont had a population of 8,700. Andrew Carnegie, who earned millions in the steel industry, was one the most successful businessmen in America in his time and someone who made big contributions to libraries.
Fremont’s current library at 1030 N. Broad St., opened in 1971 and was built when the city’s population was 23,000. The library includes a grand staircase and a statue of a young girl with outstretched arms called La Brezza. The statue was bought in New York from a Florentine company.
Throughout the years, the library has hosted a variety of programs for children and adults. Magicians and musicians have shared their talents here.
The Wildlife Encounters group has brought animals including a hedgehog and baby kangaroo along with birds and reptiles.
Children have participated in Halloween, Christmas, Noon Year’s Eve and John C. Fremont Days activities at the library along with those of Storytime, the Summer Reading Program and Family Night. Kids have made a host of crafts and had Lego-building activities. Teen and tween gaming has taken place here, too.
Authors have had book signings at the library, historians have given presentations and other individuals have researched their own families’ histories. A variety of groups have used the library as a meeting place.
In addition, the library has homebound services, taking books to individuals in their homes and to nursing homes.
Although programming is limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Laura England-Biggs, interim library director, said the library offers Storytime for children via Zoom on Friday mornings and a book club for adults that meets on the third Thursday of the month.
Today, the library may look large, but the building has only about 21,000 square feet and has outgrown its space. Plans are to expand the library to meet current needs.