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Library News

By: Virginia Volkman
For: Red Rock News
Date: August 5, 2011

Local Donations Built and Maintain Library

Often when new residents or visitors come to the Sedona Public Library for the first time they marvel at the beauty of the building.  When they learn that the Library is a non-profit corporation the next question is, where did the funds to build the library on White Bear Road come from?

Just like the Jordan Road library building, which was in use from 1969 to 1994, the current library building was financed entirely with gifts from citizens -- not community, state or federally-derived tax funds. 

Sen. Barry Goldwater, the keynote speaker at the 1968 groundbreaking ceremonies, said, “A community without a library is a community without culture and without the backup needed by local education. I am particularly proud to be here today to pay my respects to people who recognized a problem and who solved it on their own without leaning on the federal government for help.  This fact alone will be a source of eternal pride to you, as it will be to the entire state of Arizona.”

It was Eugenia Wright and Helen Ecker who donated land to build the library on Jordan Road.  In January 1986, Sedona resident Ethel M. Low donated $326,000 to buy land for a new and larger library.  

Our records show the names of 2,287 donors to the Sedona Public Library Building Fund.  Names of individuals, families, businesses, clubs and organizations who made donations large and small totaling more than $2,400,000 are listed.  These contributions came in over a 10-year period from the planning stage through completion of the building. 

In addition to donations of money, the construction industry also contributed gifts of materials, discounts, professional services, and labor which lowered constructions costs significantly.

At the formal dedication in October 1994, Sen. Barry Goldwater once again gave the keynote speech, 26 years after his appearance at the groundbreaking of the first library building. Goldwater said that he was proud of Sedona’s community spirit.  “You’ve done so much in your community – the high quality of the residents you attract, the excellent schools, the way you continue to promote the beautiful scenery. I just want to pay my respects to this community and the leadership that created this building.”

Work continued to be done on the building throughout the next few years.  Long-delayed projects have recently been completed.  Parking lot lights were installed in the spring of 2009 and the lot was also expanded at that time.  The White Bear Road entrance to the parking lot was paved in the spring of 2010.

Design Group Architects of Sedona designed the building and recently prepared a Repair and Replacement Study that is helping us determine future needs and costs.  Whenever possible, we’re replacing original equipment with more efficient fixtures.  In April 2010 we installed water-saving automatic water faucets in the public restrooms. 

You may have noticed work being done on the outside of the building in July.  The stone walls were power washed to remove white efflorescence that appeared on the stone.  The efflorescence was a sign that water was saturating the stone and leaching minerals from the concrete block substrate, the mortar, or the stone itself.  Once the stone was cleaned, the stonework was resealed with a waterproof coating.

Scheduled improvements for this fiscal year include replacing existing light bulbs with more energy efficient bulbs, replacing glass windows that have lost their double pane seal, and resealing the driveway and parking lot.

The need for the community’s support is ongoing.  Most of the funds for the day-to-day operation of the Library now come from the City of Sedona and Coconino and Yavapai Counties.  Support from the Friends of the Library and private donations help us to purchase new books, CDs, DVDs and electronic resources.  Private donations also pay for capital improvements and major repairs to the building.  Your continued support of the Sedona Public Library will ensure that our main asset, our building, continues to meet the needs of current and future library users.

Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News and is also presented on: Gateway to Sedona and Sedona Biz.
Virginia Volkman is Director of Sedona Public Library.