HISTORY OF THE IONE TOPIC CLUB AND LIBRARY
The Topic Club was started in June of 1928 by a group of nine Ione women who lived on farms north of Ione. They were Vera Rietmann, Elaine Rietmann, Ruth Rietmann, Beulah Mankin, Sylvia Gorger, Anne Smouse, Leona Christopherson, Blanche Lindstrom and Elise Gross. The club was first called the North Side Women’s Improvement Association and later changed to The Topic Club. They met twice a month in their homes with a planned program for the first meeting and at the second meeting they invited husbands and played cards and enjoyed each other’s company. On those occasions, children were always included. Dues at that time were 50 cents a year.
At their monthly meeting they reviewed books, discussed current topics and had guest speakers. The club motto is “The more we think the more we live.” They chose “He who learns and learns and acts no on what he knows, is one who plows and plows and never sows” as the quote to live by. The club colors are pink and green and flower is the sweet pea. At each meeting members answered with a fact about the subject for the day. The club grew in popularity and for many years limited membership to 24 although the numbers have fluctuated in recent years.
Club meetings were social occasions where everyone wore their best and refreshment were always carefully planned and served. Meetings were held a 2 o’clock, nine months of the year. Twice a year the club held a money making activity. For many years one these was a famous smorgasbord dinner.
In 1933, the club chose the library as something that was badly needed in Ione and were the sole sponsors of the Ione library until it became a library district 80 years later.
The first library consisted of donated books kept at the Rebekah Hall kitchen. Later it was housed at the Bill Swanson store that was completely destroyed by fire one evening in 1949. The evening of the fire, there was a storm with winds that blew pages of the books all over Ione. Although most of the books were lost in the fire, members with the help of the sympathetic and generous public built a new collection of books which were housed at the Mason Store on Main Street. When the Ione City Hall was completed in 1952, a large corner room was designated as a permanent home for the library. The city allocated about $200.00 a year for the library and paid utilities for the building. The club raised enough money to help maintain and operate the library. In addition to the funds for the library, $1000.00 was raised and donated to help construct a new swimming pool in 1952. The club has continued to donate to other city programs to help offset costs. In 2006 when the city hall was remodeled, the club secured a grant from the Wild Horse Foundation and gathered local money in order to expand the library to twice its size.
During the eighty years the Topic Club sponsored the library over 200 women were members. Membership has fluctuated in recent years and dues have been raised from 50 cents to ten dollars and meetings are much more informal. In 2013 the club continues to be true to its goal of maintaining a library in Ione: in its new role as Friends of the Library. Members assist where needed at the library and continue to support with fund raising activities,