The Rockford Free Public Library opened in 1917. The Women's Civil League held a book donation drive and 360 books were catalogued and available for borrowing that first year. The Library was only open Friday afternoons and evenings. Members of the Civil Leagues volunteered their time to staff the library, until the first part-time librarian, Mrs. Anna Mitchell was hired. In 1920, the Rockford Free Public Library Association was formed. By 1923, the library had out grown it first location, and moved the rear portion of the Rockford Township Hall.
By 1937, the library held over 2,000 volumes and also offered 9 magazines. By 1949, the library was opened every weekday afternoon and Saturday evenings, and had a full time librarian, Mrs. Jennie Fullerton. In 1965, a joint committee of the Rockford Public Library Board and the Rockford Lions Club began a fund drive for a new Rockford Public Library building. The Kinney-Lindstrom Foundation of Mason City, IA, generously gave $10,000 toward construction of the building and along with a federal grant and many generous donations by members of the Rockford area community enough money was collected for construction to begin in April, 1967. The first day of operation in the library's new home was March 11, 1968. The first librarian to work in the new building was Ms. Mary Knight.
The library is continually expanding its services to the Rockford community. Along with books for children and adults and magazines, the library now offers audio books on CD's, music CD's, and videos on DVD. The Library also subscribes to services that allows patrons to download audio books to their personal MP3 players and E-books and digital editions of magazines for their digital reading devices.
The Rockford Public Library partnered with Charles City Public Library in Oct. 2006 after the retirement of Librarian Rita Hirv, who had been with the Rockford library 27 years. Thanks in part to this new partnership the Rockford Library was able to purchases four computers, three for patron use, and one for the Circulation Desk. The Library became fully automated at the beginning of 2008. And finally this website was established during the spring of 2008. The Rockford Public Library will celebrate 100 years of service to the Rockford community in 2017!
Interested in more history? Check out the Iowa Historical Society.