This week, Tuesday, October 12, Kalamazoo Public Library celebrates its 138th birthday!
We opened to the general public on October 12, 1872, not too long after the Civil War, with 2,800 books. The basis for this collection was 123 volumes given to the local school district in 1860. We continued to be a school district public library and governed by the school board until 1990 when citizens voted to form an independent district library with its own board of trustees.
An essay outlining KPL’s development from these humble beginnings to being named National Library of the Year 2002 is on our website, along with a photo gallery from 1893 onward.
Those of us to whom the library is currently entrusted, are well aware of our long history. Those who came before us made solid decisions, adapted library services to changing times. We strive to do likewise—continue the solid foundation on which KPL has been built but recognize that patron needs and expectations have changed too. We need to be relevant to our times, just as our predecessors were to theirs.
Come visit soon. We’ll have something that is relevant to you.
Kalamazoo Public Library History