For a small town in rural Oklahoma, Carmen has a very modern library with over 6,000 books, Audio tapes, VHS and DVDs. The library has 3 computers for public use, a Television with DVD/VCR player, a stereo, a public use fax machine, and laminator.
The library got its start when the Modern Research Club met in February of 1930 to make plans for a library. The Carmen Research Library was created and placed in a room donated by the First Carmen Bank. The first books purchased were Encyclopedia Britannica. The money was raised by cake sales. Husbands of club members built the shelving.
In 1958 the Library was moved to the McGreevy building on Main street.
The Boyce sisters donated their time as Librarians until their retirement in 1981.
In 1982, the Carmen Town Board passed an ordinance creating the Carmen Public Library. Citizens of Carmen worked hard to paint and refurnish the building. On June 1st the Library reopened after being closed for several months.
Ruth Johnson was hired as Librarian. The first library board included: Theobelle Collins, Carmen Cain, Mrs. Terry Ross, Corine Lakey and Ruth Work. Progressive Study Club and Homemakers Club were the sponsors.
In July of 1982 the Library began having a story hour for the children, which they continue. There is an extended story hour program in the summer.
In 1987 the library was moved to the new Town Hall.
The library received a grant from ODL in 1988 to purchase a FAX and a copier.
The Library Board and Progressive Club bought a TV and VCR for the library in 1992.
In 1992 Gary Phillips of ODL helped with cataloging according to Dewey Decimal System. The first computer was purchased in 1994, Peggy Schuler and Carmen Cain volunteered to catalog the books on the computer. The second computer was added in 1998, and two more from the Gates Foundation in 2000.
Due to illness, Ruth Johnson retired in 1996, Carmen Cain was hired as Head Librarian. Heather Newman was hired as the Assistant Librarian in 2003.
In 2000, the library received a grant from the Share Foundation in Alva to purchase a copier/printer.
We have also received various grants for materials, including a preschool age grant, a Spanish materials grant, and an Early Literacy grant. We have a wonderful active program for the children of Carmen.
The library is continually seeking grants/donations to keep the materials, resources, and equipment up to date.
A Friends of the Library In Oklahoma (FOLIO) group was established as a library support group in 2000. FOLIO has purchased a television and four bookcases for the library and has sponsored the "Let's Talk It, Oklahoma" book discussion program.
We received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation to purchase two new computers in 2006.
In 2005 the Library Board and the Friends of the Library voted to pursue the seeking of grants and other financial means to build a new library as the present one is too small. They have had several fund raisers and are seeking grants. We have the land and will keep working on fund raisers. We hope to start building this summer(2007).