Dexter’s first public library–with 100 donated books–opened in 1930 in Allen Percy’s law office.
After 1934 the library was moved from Mr. Percy’s office to a room at the town hall. Two years later it became tax supported and reorganized under Iowa library laws.
The library was built when a 1939 Works Progress Administration project was approved to remove the second story of the building which had once housed the Chapler-Osborn Clinic. Men were hired to reuse materials for a Library Hall, which included a library and a community room with kitchen and dining area.
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, a series of Federal programs enacted between 1933-1939 to employ men thrown out of work due to the Great Depression. Under the New Deal's WPA, funds were granted to the states to operate relief programs to create new unskilled jobs.
A plaque, commemorating the project, is housed inside the library, which reads "WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION 1939."