LIBRARY HISTORY The Marshfield Public Library was built in 1911 through a grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation. At the time, it was said to be the smallest town (population 1,300) in the United States to receive a Carnegie library. The first Library Association predated the library building. It was organized April 12, 1878. The original board of directors was composed of E. W. Barnes, president, J. B. Foster, secretary, William Smith, treasurer, N. M. Callaway, Gus Gumpertz, and John Bollinger. In 1965, the library became a member of the Kinderhook Regional Library System, expanded its coverage to the entire county, and became known as the Marshfield Service Center. The Marshfield library operated as a branch of the system, with the main library in Lebanon in Laclede County. One of the benefits of joining the regional system was a bookmobile to visit the distant portions of the county. A new facility, the Garst Memorial Library, was completed in 1995. It was built around the corner from the original Carnegie structure, which is still in use as the Webster County History Museum. The Webster County Friends of the Library were instrumental in bringing the fund drive for the new building to a successful conclusion. After voters rejected a bond issue two times, the Friends rallied supporters to raise the money themselves. The family of Lester and Nanalee Garst donated $100,000. Lester Garst was the founder of the telephone company in Marshfield, and an early board member of the Carnegie library. Bill and Retha Stone Baker issued a challenge grant to Webster County: pay for the building, and they would donate the site. The community responded, and the Garst Memorial building sits on the original Stone family home site. The old system of catalog cards was abandoned in August 1995, when the library automated its card catalog. Now the card catalog is available via the internet, and the library belongs to an online catalog consortium covering eight area counties. The Marshfield Service Center aka Garst Memorial Library underwent one more name change in 1999. On January 1st of that year, it became an independent entity and the Webster County Library was born. Today there are over 10,000 library patrons and the Garst Library houses a collection of about 45,000 volumes. A branch location in Rogersville opened February 2, 2001.