Originally Published: November 12, 2003 6:10 p.m.
That is where an ad hoc group, the Second Century Committee of the Friends of the Prescott Public Library, comes in. In addition to the $250,000 that the Friends group has pledged, Kaus said the committee will apply for grants, solicit contributions, and sponsor events to raise the money.
"I think the people in Prescott really love the library, and when we get the message out, I'm confident they will come through," Kaus said.
Indeed, the situation is not unlike the one the frontier town of Prescott faced back at the turn of the last century, when it was trying to establish its first public library. In 1899, Prescott resident Julia Goldwater wrote to Andrew Carnegie to request a $4,000 grant for construction of a public library. With the help of a venerable organization, the Monday Club, the community raised the necessary matching money to build Prescott's first public library.
"The Carnegie was also a challenge grant," Kaus pointed out.
It is with obvious pride and nostalgia that library officials are looking back at the first 100 years.
Kathryn Kujawa, adult services librarian, who has spearheaded the year-long centennial celebration, noted that the original Carnegie Library was rather modest in scope. The shelves held only about 1,300 or 1,400 books, Kujawa said, compared with about 152,000 items today. Because of the obvious value of the books, the library kept a close watch on its volumes.
"At that time in people's lives, books were an object of awe," Kujawa said. "People had to ask for the materials through a gate. Browsing wasn't really an option."
Now, Kujawa said, the library strives to be the "living room of the community." The upcoming expansion will help in that area by providing a quiet place to read, along with updated wiring to accommodate technological advances.
Kujawa emphasized that everyone is welcome to attend the Nov. 24 birthday party, which will take place at the Prescott Public Library, 215 E. Goodwin St.