It has been 100 years since Waynesboro Public Library opened its doors in a Carnegie funded building in 1915 on the corner of Walnut Avenue and 11th Street. Since then, the library has seen a move to its present location as well as an addition and renovation.
On Tuesday, July 14, WPL staff and trustees invite the community to celebrate the library’s history and service to the community through the years. The centennial celebration includes activities throughout the day with a 1:00 pm ceremony.
The ceremony keynote speaker is Sandra Treadway, Virginia State Librarian. Also slated to speak are City Manager Mike Hamp, Reverend Ruth Graham (granddaughter of first librarian, Virginia Leftwich), and J.B. Yount. Music will be provided by Heifetz Institute and the Wayne Theater Alliance is presenting a portion of its River City Radio Hour serial entitled “Ladies of the Library.”
A library birthday party for children is scheduled for 12:00 pm. WVPT’s Cubby the Bear will be on hand to tell a story and help celebrate with traditional party activities. Participants are asked to please register for this activity. In the evening, Impressions Theater performs Robin Hood and His Merry Men for children at 7:00 pm.
Other activities include a pictorial postmark station featuring a special centennial postmark, vintage photo booth, character impersonations, and open house of the Walnut Avenue building (now a part of Fishburne Military School). Farm Fresh Fixins food truck will be on site from 11:00 am-7:00 pm and The Rockin’ Daddies, a blues group, performs from 6:00-8:00 pm. A complete schedule of activities can be found on www.waynesboropubliclibrary.org or at the library.
WPL was started in 1912 by seven ladies in the Philathea Sunday school class at First Baptist Church. The class teacher and founder of the library was Mary Channel Stevens. In 1915, the first library building was constructed with the help of a Carnegie grant and operations were turned over to the City of Waynesboro.
The library moved to the corner of Wayne Avenue and 14th Street in 1969 to better serve the growing population of Waynesboro. An addition in 1979 more than doubled the square footage of the building and recent renovations were completed in 2012.
Coming a long way in the last century from 7,719 visitors and 7,065 items circulated in 1913, WPL had 183,023 visits and circulated 317,896 items in fiscal year 2014.