Dakota Club Library
Dakota Club Library



Karen Lamb

Hours: M-F 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


In 1930 the members of the Dakota Club, a newly formed women's club, organized a project called the Dakota Club Library.  The financial depression, which hung over the county at that time, raised almost insurmountable obstacles.   Charter members of the Dakota Club were Lois Cady, Mary Frances Austin Butler, Vivian Bowman, Charlotte Austin, Nannette Naeve, Gundlach, Sally Paul, Coral George, Esther Twedt, Lucile Arens, Dorothy Naeve, Virginia Stevenson, Loretta Wagner, and Marjorie Anderson.

 The Dakota Club Library was first started in 1931 and was housed temporarily in the partially finished Legion Auxiliary building located next to what is now the Community Landmark building.  The library made available books borrowed from the Free Library Commission at Pierre, SD.  There was an excellent response from the community and the people were generous with donations of books and money.

As winter approached the library sponsors were presented with a new problem as the temporary quarters proved to be inadequate for cold weather.  However, through the generosity of Naeve's Grocery Store, the library was given shelf space in the grocery store.  The library remained in the store from the fall of 1931 until the spring of 1934. 

By 1934 the amount of books had steadily grown as a result of the books donated by individuals and purchased by the club with funds raised through fund raising efforts and donations.  Dakota Club sponsored dances, amateur hours, bake sales, and other fund raising events.  A call was made to the community as well for books and funding and the community generously responded to this appeal.  As a result, in the spring of 1934 it was agreed that the library had now outgrown its allocated shelf space at the store and a new location had to be located and negotiated.  The Dakota Club therefore launched a construction project for the purpose of constructing a new library facility.    Much of the credit for the success of the library to this point has been attributed to Nannette Naeve Gundlach whose inspired dreams and hard work provided the initiative and drive for the completion of the project.

Commercial lot 4 of block 3 on Main Street (north of Naeve's Store) was donate by Anna Austin and a small building, originally a homestead shack, and was acquired by the club for the purpose of establishing a permanent library facility.  The Dakota Club members had  continued diligently to raise funds for the library and managed to earn enough to pay for the building, lots, materials for the addition/renovation and furniture.   With the assistance of W.P.A. via labor, a small room was added onto the back of the original structure and the entire structure was then faced with stone.  The members of Dakota Club not only performed the tasks necessary for upkeep of the building, but each served their turn as librarian.  Grass , trees, shrubs, and flowers were planted.  The small serviceable library continued to flourish.

Goals and planning continued.  Books were continually added to the library and many more fund raising efforts were held to include dances, plays, talent shows, bake sales and rummage sales.  These fund raising efforts served as an important source of revenue which provided not only for the monthly bills and maintenance of the building but for the set aside of funds for future renovation and construction.

Early in the 1960's, the Dakota Club Library became part of the Tri-County Library System of which included the counties of Dewey, Ziebach, and Carson.  Although this system has since disbanded, the Dakota Club Library remains part of the Dewey County Library System.  The Dakota Club Library receives financial assistance from the County as well as the City of Eagle Butte.  In 1972 the Dakota Club Library became incorporated with the State of South Dakota.

In 1982, after many years of fund raising efforts and saving all available funds, the Federated Dakota Club was able to finance the purchase of a third lot (Lot 3 Block 6) and the construction of a new 24'x40' Morton building, thus making a dream of many years a reality.  The grand opening for new facility was held in April 1983.  Book shelves line both side walls and additional free-standing shelving is located at various locations within the facility.  The purchase of many new books completed the 1982-83 Library Project.

Prior to 1991, the Dakota Club librarian's salary was routed through the Timber Lake Library.  In 1991 the Dakota Club Library assumed responsibility for all finances to include the librarian's salary.  The Dakota Club has been indeed fortunate as they have received two monetary bequests, one from a deceased member and one from a sister of a deceased member who had passed many years prior to the bequest.  A portion of the money received from these sources is utilized annually to provide for the difference in the library budget and what is received from the Dewey County and the City of Eagle Butte.

In 2000, Dewey County did act to donate lot 4 of block 6 to the Dakota Club to provide for the current needs of the library as well as future expansion of this facility.  The library has once again outgrown its current space as provided within the existing facility. 

Although membership within the Dakota club has dwindled, those who remain as members diligently struggle to carry out the dreams of those before them and provide for the library now and in the future.  Future plans do include a large addition to the current structure as well as a much needed renovation of the original structure.  Furthermore the club would like to provide for the renovation of the old "historic" sod structure which has since been declared one of the few historic landmarks within the Eagle Butte community.

Updated by Sheila Ganje as of 07/15/05.

Original Library Structure

Current  Library Structure

The Dakota Club Library currently has 1926 enrolled members as of August 2005.  The circulation for the library per month averages at 992 adults and 206 children frequenting the library for a total of 1,198 individuals utilizing the book collection "check out" section of the library.  In addition there are two computers available for public use and on an average there are a total of 1,830 individuals per month utilizing the computers as per the time used information.

The Dakota Club Library does receive some assistance from the City of Eagle Butte as wells as from Dewey County but for the most part the library is funded by donations and fund-raising efforts.  Contributions to the library are GREATLY appreciated.

As of Monday, August 10, 2005 you are visitor #

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Photo By Sheila Ganje 07/17/05