The York Public Library celebrates its 100th Birthday this month, and has announced special events and programming in honor of its centennial.
May 29 will mark 100 years since the York Public Library Association was incorporated. While smaller lending libraries existed in various forms prior to 1922—and the York Public Library Association maintained a small library in the Austin Block as early as 1914—the incorporation of the York Public Library Association in 1922 is significant because it allowed the construction of the first library building, on York Street, to begin.
To honor the Library’s 100 years of serving the community, the library will host a number of events and special programs through year’s end.
Centennial celebrations kick off with an online auction from June 10 to June 18, featuring art by local artists—currently on display in the library’s upper level—as well as handcrafted goods, experiences, jewelry, accommodations, and more. Proceeds will benefit YPLA, the nonprofit entity that continues to own the Library and protects its future.
On Friday, July 15, the library will host a 100th Birthday Party Celebration for any and all to attend, with free (gluten-free) cake, a book sale (back after a two-year COVID hiatus), food trucks, and more. Visiting artist Kim Bernard will also be on site with her “PopUp Cycler” turning trash into art, a feature event of the library’s Summer Reading Program, “Oceans of Possibility.”
This summer, SoMe Brewing will even release a limited edition special brew on tap in honor of the Centennial, using—appropriately—centennial hops.
Local quilters, including Betsy Telford of Rocky Mountain Quilts, are now assembling a community quilt that reflects on York Public Library at the 100-year mark. Each square has been thoughtfully created by a community member who loves and values the Library, in a project organized by Library Trustee Julie Steedman. The quilt, a “labor of love,” will be unveiled in September.
In November, the Library will invite patrons, Association members, and York residents and visitors to a “Roaring ‘20s Night” at Clay Hill Farm—a nod to the library’s year of incorporation.
Local historian James Kences has also volunteered to write an article or two about the York Library and the early libraries that preceded it.
Perhaps most excitingly, the Library will launch a database of digitized York and area newspapers going back to the 19th century. The long-awaited digitization project has been a collaboration between the library, Old York Historical Society, and The York Weekly, and has been funded entirely with grant support from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation.
The Library expects to launch the digitized newspapers in June. They will be free and open for all to explore and will be fully keyword searchable. In concert with the release, the library will host one-on-one workshops for community members who wish to preserve their own history using new hardware that can digitize photos, 35mm negatives and slides, 8mm and Super 8 movies, VHS tapes, family documents, and even record and share oral histories.
“The Library, when it was originally constructed almost 100 years ago, was truly an effort that engaged the entire community. It seems people from all corners of town, with every measure of means, built it together,” said Michelle Sampson, Executive Director.
“Now we’re a thriving community center, in a different building entirely, but we know that their perseverance back then was the foundation for our strength today. We fully realize how fortunate we are to be a part of this community, and consider it a great honor to continue what the York Public Library Association started so many years ago,” Sampson continued.
The Library has created a webpage with more information about Centennial events and the history of the Library. Visit yorkpubliclibrary.org/centennial to learn more.
The Library extends its sincere thanks to Centennial Sponsors for their support of the Library. Clay Hill Farm joins York Public Library as its “First Edition” Presenting Sponsor; The Wladis Family is a Lighthouse Sponsor; Agamenticus level sponsors are Ellis Insurance Agency and Key Ford of York; and Harbor level sponsors are the White Family, Clark and Howell, and Atlantic Federal Credit Union.