Leavenworth Public Library will become a more valuable, visible, and accessible community resource that meets community members' needs for learning and research resources, entertainment media, and a community gathering space.
The six areas for acheiving the goals are:
The early history of Leavenworth includes attempts to establish a lending library. First was the Humboldt Lyceum and Library Association, formed in 1858 but eventually disbanded. More successful was the Leavenworth Mercantile Library, a subscription/public library formed in 1860. Eight years later a fire destroyed the entire collection except for holdings at members' homes.
Development of today's Leavenworth Public Library began in 1895 through the joint planning and fund raising effort of many women's literary groups including the Saturday Club, Whittier Club, Philomathean Club, and the Art League.
It began partly as a subscription type library with intentions of becoming free to the public when finances and organization permitted.
The library started with a volunteer librarian and two assistants. The collection was originally housed in two different locations: first, the Ryan Building (4th & Cherokee), and later, the County Courthouse.
In 1899 citizens of Leavenworth approved an annual levy for library maintenance. Subsequently, in 1900 Andrew Carnegie pledged $25,000 for the construction of the Carnegie Building located at 5th & Walnut Streets. Leavenworth was one of the first five cities in Kansas to receive a Carnegie building.
With increased circulation and collection holdings, space became limited at the Carnegie building. Again the city residents provided funds--this time for a super- market to be remodeled into a new library. In April 1987 the library moved to its present location at Fifth and Spruce Streets.
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