Morton-James Public Library

1330263418 7d957acae8923 First Corso
Nebraska City, NE 68410
Phone: (402) 873-5609
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Barbara Hegr – Library Director
Louan Beard – Assistant Director
Office Hours:
Monday-Thursday: 9AM-6PM
Friday & Saturday: 9AM-5PM

Sunday: Closed


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Morton-James Public Library is a Public library. This library is the central facility for the library system that serves Nebraska City, Nebraska. The collection of the library contains 42,893 volumes. The library circulates 78,988 items per year. The library serves a population of 7,228 residents.
The Morton-James Public Library holds numerous genealogical holdings within its facility.  To view the complete index of all their genealogical holdings, please click on open the Morton-James Public Library Genealogical Holdings file located on the left side of this page.
A listing of the library's genealogical services can also be found at:
"Due to conflicting reports it is difficult to discern just when and where the first literary association was formed in Nebraska City.  The Young Men’s Literary Association was organized in November of 1867 and the following year consolidated with the Nebraska City Mercantile Library Association.
In 1869, fourteen pioneer women formed the Round Table Club.  In the summer of 1881 the women took possession of the library of the Young Men’s Library Association. This woman’s group was incorporated in 1882 as the Ladies Library Association and they started to raise money for a library.
At this time J. W. Steinhart, a cashier of the Otoe County Bank had an opportunity to visit with Joy Morton son of  J. Sterling Morton in his Chicago Office. Mr. Steinhart told Mr. Morton about the struggles the women in Nebraska City were having in getting a library started.  Mr. Morton proposed to Mr. Steinhart, that if he could dispose of an old building located on Central Avenue across from the old hotel, he could use the money to start a library fund.  Mr. Steinhart had no luck in selling the property.  Mr. Morton responded by offering to build a suitable building for his hometown if they would furnish and grade a lot, and equip the building.  The public responded to the challenge by raising $1450.00 to obtain the 1 1/2 lots that the building now stands on and $1500.00 for the equipment and fixtures.
Since that time in 1896, many changes have occurred in our city and especially in our library.  The additional 3-floor stack room to the south was also a gift of the original donor, Joy Morton in 1932.  In 1975 the Strawberry Patch or children’s department was built by digging out the basement area under the north end of the library.
The latest $1.59 million addition started in 2000 and completed in 2002, expanded the library on the east and south sides.  This expansion nearly doubled the size of the library.  The money for the expansion was raised through donations, community groups, and grants.  Much care was taken to ensure the original architectural design was left intact." (1)
Works Cited:

(1) History of the Morton-James Public Library. 06 Sept. 2010. Web. 07 Sept. 2010.

Genealogy Events


 Program Ideas - Come & share with us!!!  We want to make the Society interesting to all Otoe County area residents or descendants of Otoe County Pioneers!!

Thursday, August 10th - 6:00PM - Brown Bag Lunch -  Brief Meeting - selecting Nomination Committee and Finance Meeting - Unadilla Resource Room.  Please come and give OCGS your input and interest for future activities/programs!

Saturday, August 19th - 9AM Lewis & Clark Center - Nebraska City - Group will meet east of the Syracuse Public Library and car pool from there.  Lunch Downtown Nebraska City.

Saturday, September 23rd 10AM - Osage Cemetery tour & Brown Bag Lunch

Saturday, October 21st, 9AM - Meeting.  10AM - Program - preserving Old Photographs, Unadilla Resource Room

Saturday, November 18th, 9:30AM Election of Officers, 2018-2020, Potluck Lunch.  Unadilla Resource Room.


Syracuse Museum of Memories - Looking for Volunteers.  They meet every Wednesday, 9AM.  Open every Sunday afternoon - May-October, else by Appointment.  See their page on our site for further details. 


Meeting Minutes

May 2017 Meeting Minutes - Click HERE for the minutes.

April 2017 Meeting Minutes - Click HERE for the minutes.

February 2017 Meeting Minutes - Click HERE for the minutes.

November 2016 Meeting Minutes - Click HERE for the minutes.

June 11, 2016 Meeting Minutes - Click HERE for the minutes

May 21, 2016 Meeting Minutes - Click HERE for the Minutes.

April 23, 2016 Meeting Minutes - Click HERE for the Minutes

March 12, 2016 Meeting Minutes - Click HERE for the Minutes.

February 20, 2016 Meeting Minutes - click here for the minutes.

January  9, 2016 Meeting Minutes - click here for the minutes.