Lena Bell

Stone School
Class of 1890

(March 1875 – Dec. 25, 1922)

Out of 20 applicants, Lena Bell was chosen as Olathe’s first librarian. Appointed in 1910, she established the library in two rooms at City Hall with 300-400 books. With a gift from the Carnegie Foundation, the new library opened with several thousand volumes on the shelves in February 1914. Bell’s library career was especially characterized by her work with children and with the women’s clubs’ program committees. During World War I, she worked with the Red Cross gathering reading material for the soldiers and helping with Liberty Bond drives. She presided over the library until her untimely death in 1922, at which time she willed her personal collection of more than 100 books to the library.