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60 Candles for Sedona Public Library

The Kinchloe Family

The Kinchloe Family

Originally Published: April 21, 2018 2:45 p.m.

Sedona Public Library is celebrating 60 years of serving the community on Saturday, April 28, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Library, 3250 White Bear Road, Sedona.

The celebration is free and open to the public, and all are encouraged to attend and enjoy guest speakers, poetry, exhibits, and live music featuring Red RockAppella Chorus. Following a short program, the Friends of the Sedona Library will serve refreshments.

The library will exhibit early versions of floor plans for an interior remodel and welcomes community feedback. The proposed renovation includes additional meeting rooms and individual workspace units. “The Board of Trustees views this occasion as the perfect time to ask big questions, launch big ideas, and bring our 60-year-old library into the future,” said Joel DeTar, president of the board. “In a study recently conducted by the library, citizens praised the Library and also encouraged upgraded and modernized space, and confident adaption to the new century. We’ve listened, we’ve got our marching orders, and we are moving forward.”

The event kicks off an art sale of donated works, including several by Laura Woolschlager and Michael L. Coleman. All proceeds benefit the Library and the sale will continue until the art is sold.

The Friends of the Sedona Library will also hold a store-wide half-price sale at their used bookstore on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. each day.

Sedona Public Library has been bringing the community together for 60 years as it strives to be a special place where the past is honored and future dreams are nourished. The Library recently recognized a family that has witnessed the Library’s commitment to Sedona through four generations.

For the Kincheloe family, the library has long been a place to learn, play, gather, and make connections. Meghan and Kai Kincheloe, parents of Cormac, 7, and Hazel, 4, grew up in Sedona, and Meghan fondly recollects visiting the library on Jordan Road as a child. Kai and his family lived in the Kachina neighborhood, and he remembers when the current library was built. The family’s Sedona roots extend back two more generations. Meghan’s grandparents used the old library in Uptown and the existing library on White Bear Road.

The Library’s history is woven into the fabric of Sedona going back over six decades. In 1958 a volunteer group established Sedona’s first library in a donated space with three shelves of donated books and magazines. By 1966, the library was incorporated as a nonprofit with holdings of 6,230 books. Today their collection includes 61,000 books, and with membership in the Yavapai Library Network, they give patrons access to 1.3 million items.

The library moved into its first building on Jordan Road in 1969. The land was donated by locals Helen Ecker and Eugenia Wright, who wanted to see the land used to benefit the greatest number of people. They chose the Library, and the building constructed on this land was funded entirely by community donations.

By 1985 the 5,000-square-foot building on Jordan Road was becoming too cramped to meet Sedona’s growing needs, and the library board began to investigate ways to expand the facility. 

Sedona resident Ethel M. Low came to the rescue in January 1986 with a donation of $326,000 to buy land for a new and larger library. The Design Group was hired to design the new building, which was funded entirely by generous individuals in the community and gifts of materials and labor from the local construction industry.

May 14, 1994, a parade of 500 Sedona citizens formed “Books Across Sedona” to symbolize the move to the new library building in West Sedona. The book-carrying chain moved 5,000 books from the Uptown location. It would have required some 4,000 people to move all the books by hand. The move was completed during the next three weeks, and the new building opened its doors to the public on June 6.

True to its mission to enrich lives and foster lifelong learning, in December 2000 the library began offering free internet. In 2002, the new children’s library opened; with an addition of 1,500 square feet, the Library expanded to a total of 25,500 square feet.

In 2005, Sedona Public Library opened its Village of Oak Creek facility, providing a convenient place for patrons to pick up and return items.

The Friends of the Sedona Library, incorporated in 1967, continue to support the Library. In 2017, they opened a used bookstore in property provided by the Library. The Friends’ entire inventory of books and other materials are now available year-round right next door to the Library.

Nearly 200,000 people come through the doors of the Library each year to avail themselves of information, entertainment, and job-finding resources; internet access; and programs for all ages. Last year’s City of Sedona Citizen Survey indicated that library services received one of the highest scores for quality of community service, with only fire services and emergency medical services rating higher. In addition, the Library bolsters the efforts of innumerable local nonprofit organizations through active partnerships. 

Volunteers remain a cornerstone of the Library’s day-to-day operation. More than 150 volunteers provide nearly 15,000 hours each year.

Sedona Public Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and the operations budget is supported by the City of Sedona, Yavapai and Coconino Counties, Friends of the Library, businesses and foundations, and individual donors. For more information, visit www.sedonalibrary.org.