A library celebration

In 2009 my local library will have been in existence for 100 years, and I’ve found myself on the committee that is planning a year’s worth of celebrations of the event.  How I got on this committee is a convoluted story involving Hobgoblin and cycling and people knowing people and things randomly coming up in conversation, but, anyway, we had our first meeting today.  It was interesting.  It was my first governmental meeting of any sort, and the chair took care to explain to me before we began that we had to follow Freedom of Information (FOI) Act rules and Robert’s Rules of Order and that only those who had been voted on and confirmed by the library’s Board of Directors could sit at the special table (which included me — I felt like such a grown-up).  Everybody else who was going to be on the committee but who hadn’t yet been confirmed had to sit in the chairs set aside for the public.  Also we aren’t allowed to have discussions on email because that would mean the public doesn’t have access to them, which violates FOI.  Oh, and we had to say the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the meeting.

The meeting itself was devoted mainly to coming up with ideas of ways to celebrate.  The chair thought we might come up with 100 ways to match the 100 years of the library’s existence; many of these 100 things could be small things or things the library already does, and then some could be larger.  The chair had already listed a few things like signing up 100 new patrons of the library, signing up 100 new newsletter subscribers, have a kids read-a-thon, publishing a monthly article on library history, making posters about the library’s history, giving tours of the library, and picking a book for the entire town to read.  We came up with some more ideas like having a writing contest and soliciting ideas from the local schools on how the library can celebrate and finding a way to integrate things like National Poetry Month.  Now we’re supposed to brainstorm even more ideas.

So — any ideas out there on how a town can celebrate the centennial of its library?  Do you remember events your library has had, of any sort, that might be fun?  Any suggestions of a good book for a mass town reading?


Filed under Life

11 responses to “A library celebration

  1. This sounds like fun, though how wild you had to say the Pledge of Alligiance–I guess they totally do things by the book. My university just celebrated their 100 years this past October. The library had a special exhibit of the last 100 years with things taken from archives and they even brought in a 1908 Cadillac and a 2008 Cadillac. It was fun. They had an open house complete with jazz band and pastries (I volunteered and greeted people at the door–lots of alumni). Does you library have an archive with photos? Maybe you could do some sort of big display showing how the library/books has changed over time? My library has done citywide reading of one special book (Willa Cather one year since she is a NE author). I’m sure you will come up with loads of ideas once you start brainstorming.


  2. Wow – so many good ideas already. I was thinking you could have a display of the books published the year the library opened. And maybe there are local authors who’d come and do events – a reading with question and answers afterwards. Anyway, I’m sure you’ll think of loads of things. The meeting sounded scary! I would have wanted to be on one of the seats at the very, very back.


  3. How fun! Since Danielle and Litlove already took my main ideas, does your library do anything during banned books week? If not, what about doing something with that and how the library fits into promoting the first amendment?

    Also, I believe the ALA website has something where libraries can make their own READ posters. It might be fun to have prominent and not so prominent people in town as well as kids make posters.


  4. Sounds like your library is run by a bunch of Presbyterians! I always love those parties when people come dressed as book titles (not that I’ve ever attended one, but I’ve read about them, and the library I used to work had them before I worked there. People used to reminisce about all the clever costumes people wore, and I so wished I’d been around when they had them). Perhaps your library could have a “Come as a book or popular author from 100 years ago” party.


  5. http://www.libraryminigolf.org/
    Seriously – a couple of libraries have done this and apparently it’s been very effective in getting people into the library, and as a fundraiser. You could do a historical theme.


  6. Danielle — thanks for the ideas! I’m sure we have photos to display and archives with interesting things to show. That would be fun.

    Litlove — the meeting wasn’t really scary — mostly amusing and mock formal. The committee chair was very good at making us all feel comfortable, in spite of the set up! And we’ll definitely have to look around for some local authors to do readings — that would be fun.

    Stefanie — good ideas! I’m sure we’ll incorporate banned books week into the celebration somehow, and I love the idea of having people make posters!

    Emily — now a “come as a book or an author” party would be fun. I’m not sure what or whom I would dress up as …

    Becky — oh, fabulous! Mini-golf in the library would be great.


  7. I’ve been trying to recall what my library did for the centennial (just a few years back.) The only thing I can think of now is that we had a local historian write a history of the library; I’ll look back at some of the planning and let you know if there were any other good ideas.
    BTW, love the mini-golf idea!


  8. Nellie M.

    A little late in posting…I’ve been out of town. Here’s the write-up from my library. We celebrated 100 years in 2007:

    Mark your calendars and join us at the Library on Friday, March 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for a special Centennial Open House. There will be a display of historic photographs and the unveiling of a beautiful library quilt, a spectacular community project. The Friends of the Library will have special library-themed note cards and book bags available. Of course, there will be food and drink, live entertainment, and a very special Centennial Birthday Cake! Don’t miss this historic celebration. Funding provided by the Friends of the Library. Due to the special nature of this event, there will be no library services.

    Since the library in my town moved through three distinct buildings during its history, the notecard sets featured artists renditions of each building. The notecards were available all year. I used them for stocking stuffers.

    Also, something not mentioned in the write-up, the sketches of the buildings were transferred onto plastic library cards. Patrons getting new library cards could choose which building design they wanted. The “collector” cards were available all year.

    Good job serving the library, Dorothy!


  9. Nellie — what a great party that sounds like! I’m sure it was fabulously fun. Thank you for including the description of the event — it has lots of good details. Fun!


  10. I am sorry to be so behind on your posts but I will catch up.

    Some of the CT libraries are doing tile murals as fundraisers/celebrations. You can see one in the Westport Library (I think that is closest to you?) but the same artist has done one for our town library, and there is one in progress for the Wallingford Library. I just bought a tile for our family since I grew up there. You can see more info here: http://www.wallingford.lioninc.org/?q=mural

    The tiles are handpainted images of people, buildings, landmarks and other symbols that represent the town and library history. The one where I live is very nautical, with lighthouses and ships, but the one in Wallingford has agricultural symbols like barns, and also tiles to represent the silver industry. The whole mural is surrounded by book spine tiles.

    I hope this helps!


  11. P.S. I think that the WPL also once held a program where all town officials & notables recommended a favorite book, and a little shelf card for each one (by that official) was placed on a display with the book for all the patrons to visit. It was very effective in getting the mayor and other town officials into the library, to see what actually goes on there, and to encourage them to support the library during town budget meetings. 🙂


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