Serving the Loup Valley for 140 Years

Historic North Loup Library

Serves Area Readers


Kate Wolf photo

North Loup Library Director Linda Markvicka has greatly improved services at the historic library over the years.

By Kate Wolf

   It pretty much goes without saying but, if you want to accomplish something important, something that lasts….get the women involved. Almost 100 years ago, the female residents of this small Valley County community put their heads together and their hands to work in order to establish the North Loup Library.

   Back in April of 1925, the members of the ladies NoLo Club decided that what this town needed was a decent library. Jessie Babcock, Myra Hutchins, Lillie Jones and Florence Smith got the ball rolling, found a small storage building that needed a lot of work and they set out to make their dreams come true. The village board contributed to the effort by agreeing to pay for rent and utilities. Soon the ladies of the historic Fortnightly Club joined in the effort. Furniture, shelves and books were donated by interested parties who wanted to help and by fall of that year, they hosted their first open house.

   A Library Tea became an annual event and in 1929 the records show the contributions were 60 books and $5.88 in cash. In Nov. 1941 the library moved to its present location in the North Loup Community Hall. That year they gained a whole $12.52 and even more book donations.

   An antique timepiece was donated to the library by Horace Davis in 1948. The rare old Howard clock has an interesting and somewhat sinister history. It was owned by a member of the Mafia in Omaha who presented it to Davis back when he served as fire marshal in Lincoln. It is believed that the Mafia member intended the “gift” as a way to grease the skids into a job as deputy fire marshal since, at the time, there was an arson epidemic in the Italian neighborhoods of downtown Omaha. The effort was fruitless, however, and the clock has hung in the North Loup Library ever since.

   In those early years, various women from the community served on the library board, often for decades. Lila Gilespie served from 1944 until 1975, Geraldine Hoeppner served for 29 years, Jessie Babcock for 26, as well as Leona Babcock, Winnie Bartz and Elfreda Vodehnal, all of whom served for 15 years or more.

   Library duties were shared by the board members until the 1940s when a government program covered the costs, which enabled Delpha Williams and Birdene Ingerson to alternate as librarians. But soon the project was discontinued and by 1951, Leona Babcock became the permanent librarian. Currently, the North Loup Library Board consists of Director Linda Markvicka, Dennis Linke, Jessalyn Weiner, Claudia Morgan, Shirley Jorgensen and Christy Abels. Village Clerk Carrie Hansen, whose office is just across the hall, also steps in to assist whenever needed.

   For a number of years, substantial financial aid came from the “Jumble Shop”, a kind of thrift shop housed in the back room of the library and managed by Edith Bartz. Various items were donated and sold with all proceeds going to support the library. New book purchases were financed by placing them on a “pay shelf” with a five cent per week charge for the book loan. When you live in a small rural community, you have to be a little more creative in order to get things done.

   Technology, however, has changed everything. The back room now serves as a study and research room which houses four computers and a laptop. Many people visit the library for genealogy research or to study back issues of the old North Loup Loyalist newspaper at Local historian Dan Jorgensen frequently helps folks with their genealogy and old plat map research of the area around North Loup. Since many of their patrons are older, the library also helps them with other tech activities such as driver’s license renewals, YouTube instruction videos, unemployment updates and online purchases.

“You know, there are many people who may not own a computer or they don’t have kids at home to help them figure this tech stuff out,” Director Markvicka remarked. “That’s where we come in. I like to teach people something every day.”

   For the complete North Loup Library story, pick up the Jan. 26 edition of The Ord Quiz.


Drug Busts Increase In Valley County

By Kate Wolf

   The Valley County Sheriff’s Office was exceptionally busy this past weekend and K9 Deputy Brendan Molden got a real workout. The following arrests were made:

   1-21-22 Turner Sherman, 35, of North Loup, NE. Booked into Valley County Jail for felony possession of a controlled substance. The Sheriff’s Office worked in conjunction with the Ord Police and the Nebraska State Patrol in the apprehension and arrest of Sherman.

   1-22-22 Joel Lilienthal, 44, of Odessa, NE. Booked into Valley County Jail for felony possession of a controlled substance.

   1-22-22 Toni S. Hopkins, 30, of North Platte, NE. Booked into Valley County Jail for felony possession of a controlled substance, criminal impersonation and obstructing a police officer.

   1-22-22 Joseph L. Duran, 36, a transient. Booked into Valley County Jail for felony possession of a controlled substance, both meth and cocaine, possession with intent to distribute, tampering with physical evidence, possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person, escape, and resisting arrest.

   The Valley County Sheriff’s Office has also noted a marked increase in local cases of burglary and theft in the area, usually in rural locations, which are directly related to the drug activity which has been escalating. Many of these criminals are not only coming into our county from elsewhere, they actually live here.

   Valley County Sheriff Casey Hurlburt stated, “As sheriff, I want these criminals to know that if you come into our county, or if you live in our area and are associated with these illegal activities, we are going to catch you.”

   The Valley County Sheriff’s Office announced the recent hiring of Deputy Shaun Muncy. Deputy Muncy, who has also had K9 training and is well known for recognizing drug activity due to previous experience on the I-80 drug corridor, recently joined the staff of the Valley County Sheriff’s Office which will enhance their efforts to identify and curtail illegal drug crimes in our area.

   “We are excited to have Deputy Muncy join our team,” Sheriff Hurlburt commented. “With his wealth of drug investigation and his arrest records, we’ll keep him as long as we can. He is pursuing other opportunities in Greeley County in the future, but we’re glad we have him on board now.”

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