Library History

The Dexter Public Library was organized in 1935 by Mrs. T. J. (Kitty) Brentlinger.  First housed in an upstairs room over Sherwood’s Store on West Stoddard Street, it was stocked with discarded books from the St. Louis Public Library as well as donated items from local individuals and organizations.  This location later became Gamble’s, and is now the site of Weber’s Ben Franklin.  The library was open one day each week, and Mrs. Brentlinger was assisted by Etta Flag and Allie Welborn.  In 1942 the library moved to a room in the local armory and expanded its hours to three days per week.  During this period the library checked out an average of thirty books per day.  In 1956, under the leadership of Director Dorris Turlington, the library began receiving State Aid. Mrs. Turlington became the Library Director upon the retirement of Mrs. Brentlinger in 1955.  The state assistance, along with private donations, made it possible for the library to relocate to the John Ringer home at 34 South Elm.  This structure was enlarged in 1971 to accommodate the ever-expanding library collection.  When Mrs. Turlington retired in 1979 the directorship was assumed by Loyce Reed, who had been at the library since 1960.  In 1997 the City of Dexter was thrilled and privileged to receive the donation of a beautiful, new 10,000 square foot library from Dexter native Edward (Bud) Keller.  The new Keller Public Library was dedicated to the memory of Mr. Keller’s mother and former Dexter Public School music teacher Ola Keaton Keller.  From our new address at 402 West Grant Street we are proud to be able to offer our patrons a wide selection of modern library services through our adult, young adult and children’s collections, computer lab, genealogy department, reference and audio-visual resources, and Community Room.