About the Library

The first library in McGregor was established in 1867.The library was in the office of Attorney A.J. Jordan, who was librarian as well as city clerk.

This arrangement only lasted ten years. The books were donated to the McGregor School in 1877, and our communities were without a library for 44 years, despite vocal protests in the North Iowa Times.

The public again pushed for a library in 1920. The McGregor Public Library Association formed in December, 1921, and created a library in the community rooms of the Masonic Building, 132 Main Street. This location was in place until 1938, when a PWA project remodeled a former laundry building into the library and museum in 1938.

The present library building at 334 Main Street in McGregor was made possible by a bequest of a former McGregorite, Elizabeth Updegraff of New York. Her will stated, "I want to give back to McGregor something of what it gave to me."

Architects Rossiter & Hamm of Dubuque designed the building. The Mid-Century Modern, Prairie Style library building features horizontal lines, natural materials, and a fireplace. The public library in McGregor opened its doors with a dedication program and open house in August, 1963.

In 2004, artist Patrick Collins created the “Four Centuries along the River” historical mural at the McGregor Public Library. The mural encompasses a 114-foot span around the clerestory windows in the library. Collins mural of local history includes the Ringling Brothers, Emma Big Bear, Dr. Lucy Hobbs, sand artist Andrew Clemens, and many other people and locations which make our place a great and distinct part of the country and world.

In 2007 stained glass artists Marilyn Burke and Jenny Gordon created and donated three stained glass window panels to the McGregor Public Library. Marilyn designed the panels in patterns reminiscent of the original Prairie Style design of the library. The stained glass panels were installed in the entry.

Our communities celebrated the library building's 50th anniversary in 2013.