mission and history

Our Mission Statement:

Jefferson County Library is where our community learns, connects, and turns dreams into reality.

Adopted: March 31, 2015

Jefferson County Library Board of Trustees

Our History

Jefferson County Library District was established by the Jefferson County Commission on November 23, 1981, when the three judges of the County Court appointed five citizens to the Jefferson County Library Board of Trustees. The first Board included Martha Dodson of Crystal City, Della Lang of High Ridge, Robert Miller of Hillsboro, Elizabeth Mueller of De Soto, and Ralph Sippel of Arnold. The library did not begin operations however until 1989, when voters in the Northwest and Fox-Windsor library sub-districts approved a twenty cent tax levy to support library services in those sub-districts.

The Jefferson County Library Board of Trustees, now appointed by the County Executive with the approval of the County Council, administers the active library sub-districts; the Library Director, employed by the Board of Trustees, is the chief executive officer.

In June, 1991, two branches, Northwest in High Ridge and Fox-Arnold in Arnold, were opened in rented quarters, in a storefront in High Ridge Plaza and in the lower level of the Arnold City Hall. A small bookmobile also provided service. In June, 1998, the newly constructed Windsor Branch (first district-owned building) opened on Metropolitan Boulevard in Barnhart. During 2003 construction began on a new Arnold Branch Library, and in 2004 an empty commercial building was purchased for renovation as the future location for the Northwest Branch. The new Arnold Branch opened in May 2005 at 1701 Missouri State Road, adjacent to the City of Arnold Recreation Center and the Arnold campus of Jefferson College. The new Northwest Branch opened in October 2005 at 5680 State Road PP at Highway 30 in High Ridge.

The library has been automated since the start - the catalog, acquisitions, and circulation. A significant milestone was achieved in January 2002 when the library catalog became available on the Internet. The library also established its own website, jeffcolib.org.

From the beginning, the library has focused on building collections and services for children and teens, seniors and the local business community. Most popular among the programs and services designed for adults have been the Best Seller Club, Beginning and Intermediate Computer Classes, and Genealogy and Local History programs. The library also has enhanced its programs by participating in cooperative projects with organizations, schools, and other institutions and agencies in the county. Popular services include delivery of books and other library materials to the homebound and the Food for Fines program.

In the fall of 2009 the library completely redesigned and updated its website to provide users with access to library services online 24/7. The library is also on Facebook and Twitter. In November 2011 the library added self-checkout stations for the convenience of users at all three branch locations, and in June 2012 it began offering downloadable e-books and e-audiobooks through participation in the Overdrive MissouriLibraries2Go consortium. By the end of 2014, over half of user interactions with JCL services and resources were happening online.

Each branch library has its own dedicated Friends of the Library organization, with volunteers promoting the library and raising funds to support programs and special needs at each branch. The Jefferson County Genealogy Society also supports the JCL Genealogy & Local History Collection. In 2010 the library established the Jefferson County Library Foundation to raise funds for system-wide technology services, community outreach, and technology training for library staff. The Foundation has also established the Library for the Future Endowment Fund. In addition to individual and corporate donations, the Foundation has received grants from the Enterprise Foundation, the Jefferson Memorial Community Foundation, the Monsanto Fund and the Walmart Foundation.

In 2010, the Jefferson County Library was approved to accept Passport Applications at the Northwest and Arnold branches. In 2016 The Windsor Branch was also approved to accept Passport Applications. Notary Services were introduced in 2012 at all three locations.

In April 2017, voters approved a tax levy increase, the first since 1989, which allowed the library to add valuable materials and services for patrons. In addition to traditional library materials, non-traditional items were introduced for loan. These items include cake pans, musical instruments, crafting tools, fishing equipment, telescopes, neck ties, and seeds. Electronic devices such as wi-fi hotspots, leak detectors, kilowatt detectors, and photographic film converters also are available for check out.

With the increased use of personal electronic devices, the Jefferson County Library now offers services such as Hoopla, and Flipster, which enable patrons to download music, audiobooks, television shows, and digital magazines to their devices for a limited period of time. Online resources such as Lynda and Mango provide 24/7 access to materials that promote life-long learning. Children’s resources include Tumblebooks Library and ABC Mouse.

The Della Lang Local History and Genealogy Room at the Northwest Branch offers services for local and worldwide genealogy research. Free genealogy classes, access to several valuable genealogical databases, and a growing collection of reference materials are available for the beginning genealogist as well as the advanced researcher.

Jefferson County Library is now part of the Missouri Evergreen System which added access to millions of resources from participating libraries. As the needs of our patrons evolve and change, the Jefferson County Library remains committed to offer quality services and materials for our community.

Updated February 8, 2019