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Library Mission & History

The History and Mission of Barton County Public Library

Barton County is located in the southwest corner of Missouri, close to the Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma borders. County residents include people from diverse educational, cultural, and economic backgrounds displaying a wide variety of interests, needs, values, viewpoints and occupations. Barton County has a population of almost 12,000. The county has three main towns – Lamar, Liberal, and Golden City – with other numerous townships and very small communities scattered through the county.  Lamar serves as the county seat.

Barton County Library is the only library system in the county and operates a three-branch library system, with branches in Lamar, Liberal (located 20 miles from the main branch) and Golden City (located 18 miles from the main library). Lamar is home to the administrative branch of the Library. 

During the years from 1937 to 1994 Barton County Library was housed in the Memorial Hall, the Odd Fellows Building, and the former laundromat building on 9th Street. In 1956, the first tax levy was approved to support the Library. In 1993, the Lamar Library moved to its present location at 300 West 10th Street, and was renamed the Mary K. Finley Library.

From 1957 to 1974, the Library had a bookmobile that traveled around the county. In 1974, branches in Golden City and Liberal were added. In 2001, a new building for the Liberal Library, renamed the Happy and Mary Curless Library, was constructed. Also in 2001, the facility at Golden City was expanded, remodeled and renamed the Hylton Library. 

Mission Statement
The Library’s mission is to make its resources available and useful to the people of Barton County. The Library will provide the community, from pre-school through maturity, with quality staff, resources, programs and service.

The Barton County Library system is an information center for Barton County. It provides state of the art equipment and access to a comprehensive array of information for Barton County Residents. The Library is a public agency whose aim is to provide for the educational, informational, inspirational, and recreational needs of the people in Barton County. The Library recognizes four fields of responsibility:
1. to select and organize a collection of significant books and other resources
2. to provide for an adequate distribution of these resources
3. to give competent guidance and assistance in the use of this material
4. to provide a vital link between all other libraries in the area, state and nation

The Barton County Library endorses the Library Bill Of Rights, The Freedom to Read Statement, and The Freedom to View Statement adopted by the American Library Association.