In the years around the middle of the 1870's Winterset had 18 lawyers, 16 doctors, 4 hotels, 16 churches and 2,400 residents. Some citizens were concerned about the young men and women of this community at a time when the temperence movement was being revived. It was decided to establish a library where young people, especially the young men, could have a place to read and meet as friends. Business men collected money and invested in 100 books. The Young Men's Christian Association was to keep the books and loan them to readers. This arrangement did not work out. The books were given to the Women's Christian Temperance Union to care for and loan to readers. The rooms where the books were kept for loan were known as Reading Rooms. One of the first rooms was tended by C. Schwaner, a harness dealer, who gave the use of two front rooms on the second story of his new building on E. Court Ave (second building from the intersection of Court Ave and John Wayne Drive) rent free for one year. Interested persons gave tables, chairs, lamps, books and stoves to equip the rooms. Some of the donors were J.S. McCaughan, a lawyer; Dr. D.C. Bevington, a livestock dealer, realtor and president of National Bank of Winterset; and Reverand Henry Wallace, a Presbyterian minister.