Our mission is to instill a passion for reading, lifelong learning, and discovery by providing materials, technology, and creative, innovative programming.
Empowering our community to engage in a creative, intellectual life.
Our Core Values
Collaborative: We strive to partner with local organizations to improve our impact in the community.
Community: Fostering an environment that encourages community.
Creativity: We support the innovative, expressive, and enterprising pursuits of people in our community.
Patron Focus: We are relentless in our pursuit to better understand our patrons and thus provide exceptional service.
Discovery: Cultivating the thrill of encountering new ideas and information, making new connections, and explaining new possibilities for our patrons.
Learning: We believe that lifelong learning is a key to continuous personal growth and a vibrant local community.
Stewardship: We serve as stewards of our community’s cultural, historical, and contemporary resources.
History of Musser Public Library
On February 19th, 1902, P.M. Musser Public Library opened its doors to Muscatine. The new library was wholly funded by a local businessman, Peter M. Musser.
In 1956, Clifton R. Musser, son of Peter, bequeathed $550,000 to the library in memory of his father. This allowed the library to build an addition to the original building in 1965.
In 1970 the library board again appealed to the Musser family, this time to P. M. Musser’s grandchildren, John Musser and Marion Musser Lloyd, to help build a new library in place of the 1902 building. They contributed $500,000 or 2/3 of the cost of the new library structure in memory of their mother Margaret Kulp Musser. The new addition was dedicated on August 5, 1972.
Then, in 2017, due to space constraints and multiple building issues, the Library began to explore construction of a new facility. During this process, a local corporation, HNI, generously donated their corporate headquarters to the City to be used for the new library.
This building, located downtown at 408 E 2nd St, was originally constructed in 1930 as Baker Hospital #2, by the infamous Norman Baker, a Muscatine native, and was part of his Baker Institute. Baker claimed that he could cure cancer and performed several procedures at this location. After a sensationalist career replete with medical quackery amongst other endeavors such as inventing the calliope, Baker died in Miami, FL in 1958, and was subsequently buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Muscatine.
The Library sits across the street from the former home of Orion Clemens, co-owner of the Muscatine Journal, and brother to Samual Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, who lived in Muscatine for a time and worked as a printer’s devil for Orion at the paper. In his book, Life on the Mississippi, Twain wrote, “And I remember Muscatine—still more pleasantly—for its summer sunsets. I have never seen any, on either side of the ocean, that equaled them.”
408 E 2nd St has housed many different organizations over its history, from a hospital that claimed to cure cancer to a dormitory for Army Air Corpsman training as pilots during WWII; from an auto body shop to a corporate headquarters; and finally to the home of Musser Public Library today.
Working with Cedar Rapids architecture firm OPN, the new Musser Public Library was renovated and opened its doors to the public on June 30th, 2018.
Muscatine has a long and storied library history, replete with multiple buildings and colorful characters that fits into one of our primary goals of preserving the past and looking towards the future.