Main Library History

Main Library Documents & Articles

The following are documents and articles about Kansas City, Kansas Public Library and, more specifically, the Main Library location. This includes documents from The Kansas City Kansan, The Kansas City Star and The Kansas City Times along with items from KCKPL's collection. Please note that KCKPL's Copyright, Disclaimer and Credits for the Kansas Collection apply to this information.

Kansas City, Kansas Public Library would like to gain insight from our community about the Main Library located in Downtown Kansas City, KS. We will hold three community feedback sessions at the following times and dates:
> 1-2:30 p.m. | Saturday, April 28 | Main Library
> 6-7:30 p.m. | Monday, May 7 | Second Floor Auditorium at Main Library
> 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | Wednesday, May 16 | Second Floor Auditorium at Main Library


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Information Available

Selected Documents
The following documents relate to KCKPL's history. This includes the history of the library established by Kansas City Kansas Public Schools.

Title Description
KCKPL History The Kansas City, Kansas Public Library's history as part of a Kansas City Kansas Public Schools project about the history of the public schools in Wyandotte County.
Dog Tax Ordinance (Oct. 22, 1897) This is a scan of the Dog Tax Ordinance in Wyandotte County. The Dog Tax was used to establish and fund the Library.
Program for the Dedication of the Public Library (April 17, 1966) The program for the dedication of the new downtown Library and School Administration Building provides descriptions of service areas within the building. The program includes photos and a vendor list.

Selected Newspaper Scans
The following selected newspaper scans provide images and information during the building process of the then new Main Library and its opening.

Article Title Date Published Description
Construction photo of the current Main Library 6/10/1965 This is a scan of a photo from The Kansas City Star. The photo shows the construction of the current library with the now obsolete Carnegie Library in the background.
Organizing the Library 3/2/1966 This is a scan of a photo from The Kansas City Kansan. The image shows staff organizing the library prior to opening.
Front of Library with magnoia tree 3/22/1966 This is a scan of a photo from The Kansas City Kansan. It is an image of the front of the building with limbs from a magnolia tree.
First book checked out 3/26/1966 This is a scan of a photo from The Kansas City Kansan. This is just moments after the first book was checked out at the then new Main Library.
Article about the Library's dedication 4/18/1966 This is a scan of an article from The Kansas City Kansan. The article focuses on the Library's dedication service and tours.

Selected Newspaper Articles
The following articles follow the establishment of the orginal Carnegie Library in Downtown Kansas City, Kansas through its closure and the movement to build the open the current Main Library. Additional articles are included that focus on different technology used at the Library and services.

The Carnegie Library

Article Title Date Published Description
Sarah Richart dies 1/14/1901 Notice of the death of Sarah Richard, who was credited as the founder of the public library in Kansas City, Ks.
After a Carnegie Library 2/12/1901 A delegate from Kansas City goes to New York to win favor from Andrew Carnegie for funds to build a library.
Carnegie offers $75,000 gift 7/17/1901 Andrew Carnegie offers Kansas City, KS $75,000 to build a library in the city. The city must agree to maintain the library of at least $7,500 annually and provide a suitable site.
Carnegie gift available 9/9/1901 Andrew Carnegie directed staff to honor a contract with Kansas City and establish a credit line with the $75,000.
Cornerstone of the Kansas City, Kas., building laid 9/7/1902 The cornerstone of the new library building was laid on Sept. 6, 1902.
Brief on Library completion 5/15/1903 Brief states the new Library should be completed by June 15.
Flood delays finishing Carnegie Library 6/25/1903 Brief indicates that the flood delays the completion of the Library. The flood also caused some materials to go misssing.
Library almost ready 11/8/1903 An architectural drawing of the building is included in this article about the Library's completion.
Patron Notice 1/20/1904 Notice to patrons about the opening of the library.
The Library is popular 3/12/1904 The Carnegie Library is a popular place in the community.
Gift from Mr. Carnegie 1/25/1906 Carnegie gifts the Library a copy of The Collected Poems of Wilfred Campbell.
Beautifying Kansas City, Kas. 8/17/1909 Short article discusses the interest in an improved park and boulevard system. The article notes that Huron Park and the Carnegie Library have added attractive spaces to the area.

Leading to New Library

Article Title Date Published Description
Ceiling down at Library 3/12/1952 A 7x10 foot section of the plaster ceiling near the entrance fell to the floor. No one was injured.
Open House at Library 3/16/1958 Article announcing the Library will hold an open house and a public symposium to mark the observance of National Library Week. The symposium will focus on services and needs of the library.
Library Needs are Stressed 3/19/1958 League of Women Voters are informed that a new Library building would provide esssential services and a $6.8 million bond issue plan is discussed. About $1.4 million of the bond issue would be used for a library project. At this meeting, Superintendent F.L. Schlagle said of the Library: "It is the heart of the cultural unit of this community."
The Crowded Schools in Kansas City, Kansas 4/28/1958 This is a commentary piece urging support of the bond issue by noting that the Library has needed more space and that new schools would help with overcrowding.
School Office Move 1/15/1962 Article discusses a proposal for use of space at the Library.

New Library Construction & Opening

Article Title Date Published Description
Kansas City, Kansas, ends long search for Librarian 4/15/1963 Willard K. Dennis is appointed head librarian at a salary of $10,000. His appointment was made following a lengthy search, which increased in urgency because of constrcution of the new Library.
Hire expert on library plans 9/8/1963 The new Library, school and library officials and the board of education faced a multitude of questions about the new Library. An expert was hired to help develop the project.
Photo of storage issues 2/6/1964 A photo highlighting storage issues at the Library, which was housing 1,500 bound volumes of newspapers dating back to 1905.
Get Spacious Library Plans 3/15/1964 Plans for the new Library are revealed. The project cost may be up to $2 million and the Board of Education will share space in the building.
A Library Decorator 9/23/1964 An interior decorator is selected to serve as a consultant on details of the new Library and school offices building.
A Plug for Functional Furniture 1/19/1965 Jens Risom, a designer and manufacturer of Scandinavian style modern furniture, discusses using his furniture with library and school officials within the new building.
Photos of construction work 8/12/1965 Construction work underway on the new Library.
Exterior concrete poured 11/14/1965 Construction crews shown pouring concrete in photo.
Many Features in New Library 1/3/1966 Article discusses elements of the still under construction Library.
He Makes Murals a New Way -- of Vermiculite and Plastic 2/13/1966 This is a feature on local Artist Thomas L. Russell, who created the mural on the third floor of the Library in the former School Administration space. The article includes a photo of Russell in his studio working on the mural for the Library.
Standalone photo of staff organizing new Library 2/26/1966 The Library staff begins organizing and shelving books in the new space.
To Plan a Library 3/13/1966 The Library Expert Consultant, Robert Rohlf, named coordinator for the James Madison building of the Library of Congress.
Delay in Opening of New Library 3/20/1966 The opening of the Library is delayed to ensure functionality of services.
A Milestone in Library Opening 3/23/1966 The Library opens to the public. Article provides an overview of features within the building.
Program Set for Library Opening 4/10/1966 Short article outlining the program for the dedication of the new Library.
Latest Improvements Built in Kansas City, Kansas, Library 4/1/1966 Page spread in the Youth section of The Kansas City Times about the new Library.

New Libraries since Main

Article Title Date Published Description
West Wyandotte Library Opens 5/28/1986 Advertisment welcoming the new West Wyandotte Library and staff.
Turner Community Library in phases of construction 11/19/2007 A press released published online by the Kansas City Star regarding the construction of the Turner Community Library.
Argentine residents ready to unveil a new library 9/26/2012 Article depicts the closure of the Argentine Library, which was built with funds from Andrew Carnegie, and the opening of the South Branch Library.

Early Technology in the Library

Article Title Date Published Description
Library to Recieve a Gift 10/26/1952 Library receives a microfilm reader through Edwards Memorial Fund.
Copying device is installed in Public Library 11/13/1964 The Library installed a coin-operated copying machine for public use.
Book conveyor in use 10/25/1967 A book conveyor is put in use at the Main Library.
New microfilm reader/printer 1/5/1969 The Library installs a new microfilm reader-printer.