The Library checks in to Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame

Pictures taken at the Mason City Library had all original members (L-R) in the two chairs is Mark Goslin, Mike Watts, John Tyler on the floor, Jim Thornton in back left, John Lake on the floor in front of fireplace, Elwood Zipse in chair, Jim Linahon on far right chair with Jeff Dahlstrom in back on right. -Photo submitted by Jim Thornton. 

by Lisa Riggin

Fifty-five years ago a group of young musicians in the Clear Lake/Mason City area formed one of the hottest bands around. This Labor Day weekend, that band of musical brothers who called themselves The Library is being inducted into the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.

If you were old enough to get out of your parents’ house on your own anytime between the fall of 1967 and spring of 1972, you likely had the pleasure of swinging to this band that encouraged kids to tell their parents, “I’m going to study at the Library for the night.” The band boasted a hot horn section along with the traditional guitar, bass, and drums of the day.

The original lineup included Clear Lakers Jim Linahon on trumpet, Mike Watts on drums, and Elwood Zipse on sax. Dennis Baker, also from Clear Lake, joined when Linahon eventually left the group. Mason City band members who were part of the original lineup included Jim Thornton, guitar and vocals, Mark Goslin, vocals, Jeff Dahlstrom, vocals, John Lake, guitar, and John Tyler on bass guitar. 

“To be eligible for induction, the performers have to have been active at least 25 years ago and be a stand out,” explained Roger Schinagel, our area’s Regional Consultant for the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Music Association and previous inductee with his band, SOULution. 

Schinagel and Tim Coffey, former head of the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce and now the NE Iowa Director for the association, agreed the band was a good choice. 

“They were outstanding musicians,” Schinagel explained. “People throughout the region remember them and will be happy to see The Library get recognized after all these years.”

The band, boasting “More Soul Than a 15 Foot Sneaker,” played all of the hot spots in Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas. They were a featured band at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, drew record crowds at the Roof Garden in Lake Okoboji, and played at So’s Your Uncle in LaCrosse, Wis. Manager Bob Potter kept the band moving and once sent them to Boulder, Colo., to play a week long house gig.

In 1968 the band traveled to Chicago to record for the first time as protesters filled the streets of the city during the Democratic Convention.  They covered “Groovin’ is Easy” and “Temptation”. In the summer of 1970 they recorded two original tunes “Get Back Evil Woman” and “What’s This World Comin’ To”. You can find all of these songs on YouTube by searching  “The Library” with the title of the song.

Even though college and military service forced changes to the lineup, The Library was able to maintain its signature sound through their five years together. When the band disbanded in 1972, many of its members continued to grow their musical careers. 

Jim Linahon lives in California and is an award winning music producer, composer and trumpet artist with more than 400 recording projects to his credit. Jim Thornton lives in Clear Lake and continued playing with his band, Green and Clear, along with other collaborations. For the last 25 years he has worked on The Lady of the Lake and played 99 percent of the music there for every kind of party. He’s still recording and enjoying a musical life.

Five remaining band members, Jim Thornton, Jim Linahon, Elwood Zipse, Mark Goslin, and John Lake will be present at the induction over Labor Day weekend.  The festival kicks off at Arnold’s Park, Iowa with a Rock the Roof Concert on Thursday evening, Sept. 1.  The weekend festivities include the Opening Ceremony and Guitar Marching Band, Autograph Party, Iowa Rocks Talent Contest and Inductee Meet & Greet.  The weekend culminates with the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Induction Ceremony and Concert on Sunday, Sept. 4.

Details on the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Music Association’s Hall of Fame Induction Spectacular Weekend schedule and ticket information can be found at as the plans take shape.

“Groovin’ is Easy”
“Get Back Evil Woman”
“What’s This World Comin’ To” 

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