By Ryan Richardson
WEBB CITY, Mo. —
Residents will have a centennial celebration on their hands Saturday when the Webb City Carnegie Public Library kicks off its yearlong event focusing on the creation of the library district.
April 6 marks 100 years since the library district was created, which was the first step toward the eventual building of the library.
The festivities will start at 2 p.m. with a barbershop chorus at First and Liberty streets, near the library. The Tristatesmen Barbershop Chorus will perform, and library members will serve refreshments.
Sue Oliveira, library director, said planning for the anniversary has been in the works for more than a year.
“It has been on our minds to celebrate the reason that we are here in Webb City,” she said. “We are celebrating the women that contacted the Carnegie Foundation for grants and who went door to door to gain signatures for a library operator tax. They were the ones who got into the community to gather the support for this, even before they could vote.”
Getting the library tax on the ballot capped a three-year effort to launch the library district.
“The library has been more than a building to us,” Oliveira said. “We are celebrating the concept, the foresight and the creation of the district.”
The library centennial committee will hold monthly celebrations honoring different decades with special events, including films and literature. The celebration also will be a chance for the library to look to the future to bring in new patrons. The library will unveil pieces of its digital collection that will be available to the public.
“We want people to see that we are always looking toward the future here while celebrating where we came from,” Oliveira said. “The public can see that we are working toward meeting their needs while mediums change. We are smaller than the Joplin and Carthage libraries, but we feel that we offer so much to Webb City that they have a great library here that supports what they want.”
This weekend’s celebration at the library is free.