Beck Bookman Library
Holton, Kansas

420 West 4th Street, Holton, KS 66436
785-364-3532  FAX 785-364-5402




From a child's first picture book to accessing the Internet, Beck-Bookman Library provides an invaluable resource to community members of all ages. An extensive collection (books, periodicals, large print books, audio books and movies) are available in a comfortable, modern and fully accessible setting.

The Bookman Library was established in 1897 by the first Holton literary group, The Bookman Club, who organized the preceding year. The young women were the sole support of the library. Members acted as volunteer librarians.

The Bookman Club organized in 1896

Bookman Club Today!

On April 4, 1919, by vote of the people, the city of Holton took over the ownership of the library in order to make a city levy for support. The library was in rented quarters, 430 1/2 Pennsylvania (old Kansas State Bank), 420 1/2 New York Avenue, 213 1/2 West 5th (upstairs of the Gilk's Potato Chip Factory), 311 New York Avenue until 1952 when the current library facility was built and occupied.

With a generous trust from Edward S. Beck, and a bequest from the Jesse and Nellie Bender Family the Beck Bookman Library was built. The library is named in honor of  Major and Mrs. Milton Moses Beck, pioneer residents of the town, and the Bookman Club.  The children's room is named The Bender Room in honor of the Bender Family. Mrs. Bender (Nellie Wenner) was a charter member of the Bookman Club. An addition was built in 1995 and a new circulation desk and computer stations were added in December of 2004. 

The library houses the book collections of Edward S. Beck, former managing editor of the Chicago Tribune and William Volker of Kansas City, Missouri. Mr. Volker was a successful industrialist and philanthropist, who married Rose Roebke of Holton, a member of the Bookman Club.

The library is supported by municipal, county, and state funds as well as charitable gifts and trusts. It is governed by a seven member board.

Board Meeting Time:
Third Tuesday evening of each month,
6:00 p.m.
at the library


Lowell Grandfather Clock

Given in memory of Ellen R. Lowell to Beck Bookman Library from Sara K. Bono, niece of Ellen R. Lowell, March 2015.

The clock is of great age, dating from Ellenís great, great grandfather, Moses Lowell, born 1726, died 1817 and is buried in the Lowell Cemetery in Putney, Vermont.

Ellen was born in Holton in 1877 and died in 1977. She lived her entire life at the Lowell home, 515 Iowa Avenue in Holton. Ellenís father, Judge James H. Lowell, arrived in Holton in 1871. The clock came to Holton from Putney, Vermont in 1873 after he was married.

Ellen was an active member of the Bookman Club joining in 1901 and served as a librarian for many years. She directed that the contents of her home not be sold, but rather be disposed of by charitable gifts.

B.J. Bono, husband of Sara Bono, niece of Ellen R. Lowell. Mr. Bono cared for the clock many years. He and his son, Rick installed it in the west room of the library.

B.J. & Sara Bono
Sara, niece of Ellen Lowell who gave the clock to the library

Ellen Lowell taught voice at
Campbell College in Holton
(from 1916 Echo Yearbook)

Ellen R. Lowell, active member of the Bookman Club and Librarian.



Look at our re-purposed
card catalog!
It is now a lovely coffee table thanks to the
woodworking skills of library friend,
Mike Schul.



Beck-Bookman Library
420 West 4th Street, Holton, KS 66436  
785-364-3532  FAX 785-364-5402