Our Story

The first library located in Delhi, Iowa began from the passions of Emma Louise Brayton, a woman who regarded education with devotion and dedication. She graduated from Delhi High School and Lenox College with both a bachelor's and a master's degree. She then attended Smith College in Northhampton, Mass. and in 1883, after graduating from the University of Iowa with an L.L.B degree, she passed the Iowa Bar exam, becoming one of the first woman lawyers in the State of Iowa and the first woman to be admitted to the bar in Delaware County.

Emma was born in Delhi, Iowa on February 24, 1860. She started the first library in Delhi, which was located in a small brick building that was, at one time, her father’s law office. She loaned out her own books and called the library the “Brayton Free Library”. Prior to that, she loaned books to young people from her home. Many young people developed a love for books due to her generosity. When she died, she left the books and a trust fund to the City of Delhi to keep a library going.

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