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Library News

By: Virginia Volkman
For: Red Rock News
Date: June 1, 2012

Library Celebrates Anniversary
Join us on Wednesday, June 6, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. to celebrate the anniversary of the opening of the Library at 3250 White Bear Road.

Library Has a Long History of Community Support

As the anniversary of the opening of the Sedona Public Library on White Bear Road approaches, I’ve been reading old scrapbooks to learn the history of this outstanding example of a private/public partnership.   The nonprofit corporation called Sedona Public Library, Inc.  built and owns the library building and continues to fund improvements to the building and grounds through donations.   Day-to-day operating costs are now funded by the City of Sedona, Coconino County, Yavapai County, Friends of the Sedona Library,  donations and bequests.  The following timeline tells the story.

It was in 1958 that a volunteer group, Friends of the Library, established Sedona’s first library in donated space with three shelves of books and magazines, which were also donated.

1964:  Once the Library was established, the informal group that was the driving force behind it, organized into a Board of Trustees to administer the Library.  It soon became apparent that administrative duties left little time for raising funds to provide ongoing support, so the Trustees decided to revive the Friends of the Library.  Dorothy Wright, one of the original supporters, recalled in 1972 that “Neighborhood gatherings were arranged… to promote the idea, and then a general open meeting was held at the Sedona Arts Center… Unanimous approval was given by the large assemblage present… and the Friends of the Sedona Library was made permanent.   From that point on, the Trustees and the Friends have functioned in the respective fields in remarkable harmony and with great success to produce and maintain a library that is a tremendous credit to the entire community…”

The Riordan (Redstone) Building on apple Avenue and Jordan Road was leased for three years.  Coconino County began contributing $480 a year, which paid half the annual rent.  A paid librarian position was established.

1966:  Sedona Public Library was incorporated as a nonprofit, privately owned organization that had 6,320 books.  That same year, two Sedona residents, Eugenia Wright and Helen Ecker, donated land on Jordan Road for a library building.

1967:  The Friends of the Sedona Library was incorporated to support the Library through fund raising and volunteering.  It is a separate corporation from Sedona Public Library

1969:  The new library opened on October 26, after funds were raised throughout the community.  The Red Rock News reported:  “It was an effort that for intensity and overall participation may never have been surpassed by any community anywhere.  Individuals of all ages … from all walks of life took part, as did just about every organization in town, and the result was a creation that one and all could regard with love and justifiable pride.”

1985:  The 5,000 square-foot building on Jordan Road was becoming too cramped to meet Sedona’s growing needs, and the Library Board began to investigate ways to expand the facility.

1986: Sedona resident Ethel M. Low donated $326,000 to buy land for a new and larger library.  Over the next ten years funds were raised for the estimated $2.5 million project.  Costs were lowered considerably by gifts from the construction industry.

1994:  May 14, a parade of 500 Sedona citizens formed “Books Across Sedona” to symbolize the move to the new library building.  The human chain transferred volumes from Jordan Road to the “Y” and all along Dry Creek Road up to 3250 White Bear Road. 

June 6, the new building opened its doors to the public. 

October 1, Sedona’s first piece of public art, the statue of Sedona Schnebly placed in front of the new Library, was dedicated during the formal library dedication ceremony.

2000:  The Library joined the Yavapai Library Network, which increased the number of resources available to our patrons from 60,000 to 600,000.  In December, the Library began offering Internet access to the public.

2002:  On September 7, the expanded Children’s Room opened.  The building was increased by 1,500 square feet to 25,500 square feet with this addition.  Once again, donations from the community funded the project.

2005:  SPL in the Village (originally called the Village Service Center) opened in December, providing a place in the Village of Oak Creek for patrons to pick up and return items.  Internet access computers and free WiFi service were also provided.

2007:  The City of Sedona Citizen Survey showed that 88% of citizens used the Library’s services within the past year. 

2011:  SPL in the Village moved to a new and larger space located in Tequa Marketplace.

June 6, 2012:  Join us as for anniversary cake as we celebrate 18 years in our building and unveil the new mural in the courtyard.

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 the Sedona Public Library.