About the Leach Public Library
As early as 1909 a public library was started by Mrs. Searing, who had personal interest in getting a public reading room for children. Books were acquired through donations and gifts and rent for a room was paid by collecting small donations from the citizens for this purpose. When the county courthouse was completed in 1913, the county commissioners gave the librarian the use of a room in the basement of the courthouse without charge for rent. This was under the supervision of Mrs. Searing.
In 1919 Mr. and Mrs. O. A. Leach offered the city of Wahpeton the sum of $25,000 as a donation for the construction of a building to be used as a public library if the city would purchase a suitable site for it. Block 1/2 of lot 38 Original Townsite was purchased for a total sum of $11,000. It was also necessary to have some means for maintaining this library, so Ordinance Number 52 was passed providing for a levy and collection of an annual tax of $2000 which could be amended so as to be 10% of the final total cost of the library.
Mr. Leach had full charge of the construction of the building and upon its completion donated it to the city of Wahpeton. The building was completed in the fall of 1924 at a total cost of $40,000. Books from the old library at the courthouse were moved into the new building and new books were purchased with more books given as gifts.
The Leach Public Library has operated continuously since 1924, though many changes have occurred throughout the past century. Most recently, the Children's Area was remodeled in 2016-2017 with support from the North Dakota State Library and the Polly Benn Groneman family. The space was reopened with a new name, Polly's Place, in April 2017.
The Leach Public Library will provide a variety of resources to meet the community's informational, self-directed personal growth, recreational and cultural needs in various formats and ensure that trained staff is available to assist patrons.