Turning 100 is no small feat...especially when you've started from humble beginnings.
Such is the case for the Crystal Lake Public Library, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
Crystal Lake's library began in 1913, when Mary Howe Rogers, the superintendent of the 1st Congregational Church's Sunday School, thought it would be a good idea to create a library for the community.
Rogers set up the first "library" in the living room of the vacant Dodge House, still standing at the corner of Grove Street and Pomeroy Avenue. From there, the Crystal Lake Public Library has been moved from building to building in town- at one time even relocating to the heating plant used to warm schools during the 1920s.
The CLPL grew from a volunteer-run service at its start to employing 75 full and part-time staff members today.
In 1941, taxpayers approved the first library tax to support the institution, and the CLPL finally found its current home at 126 Paddock St. in 1952. It's undergone two buildingi expansions since.
2013: Year Full of Celebration
To commemorate its 100th anniversary- which officially falls on Nov. 16, 2013 - the Crystal Lake Public Library has filled the upcoming year with special events, activities and displays.
The library recently revealed its anniversary "EPIC" logo, which stands for "enduring place in the community." Patrons will see the logo in many places throughout the year - on the library walls, its website and other literature.
"We really felt this was a true statement," said Linda Price-Natter, public relations coordinator for the library.
"The Crystal Lake Library transforms lives by providing critical information and learning experiences- the most valuable educational and business commodities for the 21st century."
For starters, patrons will notice posters throughout the library with pictures and descriptions of books published in 1913. One case holds products invented in the same year, and the children's display case on the lower level has collections of small, fun trikets grouped in hundreds plus several "100-themed" books to read.
History buffs will appreciate a timelime outlining the progression of CLPL that hangs on the stairway leading to the Youth section. The library also will distribute anniversary bookmarks with new designs for each month this year.
And users will see more of the 100th Anniversary theme weaved throughout the Winter Reading Program, which kicks off Jan. 21, and in the Summer Reading Program, the library's largest program of the year. Plus, a new webpage will soon be launched dedicated solely to the 100th celebration, Price-Netter said.
The Next 100 Years?
Some people may think technology, such as e-books and the Internet, will prove the demise for library institutions, but Price-Netter said that doesn't appear to be the case. In fact, the demand for the library's services has increased in recent years, she said.
"Last year (fiscal year July 2011 to July 2012), we answered 78,256 reference questions for our patrons," Price-Netter said. "Most people don't see what we're seeing (here at the library). Our storytime hours are packed. We have parents bringing in their children at a really young age and getting engaged to the library."
Price-Netter said the CLPL provides storytime groups starting as young as infants and even offers bilingual storytimes. Many patrons take advantage of the libraries' computers and Internet service. Parents with children also frequent the Youth Services for the many puzzles and other activities.
Of course, patrons take advantage of the CD, DVD and video game rentals. And the library now has many specialized kits - such as the business kit equipped with a laptop computer and video camera that can be checked out.
The future of the library institution is moving toward offering "Maker Spaces," Price-Netter said. These are rooms equipped with tools and special equipment ie. copy machines, printers, etc. where patrons can build and create items.
"When you think about it, the library is the only place in the community where you can come and participate in a class without paying a registration fee," Price-Netter said.