As the Cottonwood community has grown, so has the library.
Since 1990 the city’s population has more than doubled. Now, the library has doubled its size with the Oct. 15 dedication of the new extension.
The new addition extends 50 feet north of the existing building and is the full width of 126 feet east to west. It provides a seamless connection to the existing building. That is what architect Larry Enyart, president of LEA Architects of Phoenix planned.
“We followed the lines of the library to make it look like just one building,” Enyart said at the dedication celebration.
About 100 people, including children, attended the dedication. At a prompt, the children shouted out, “We love the library,” as Cottonwood Mayor Diane Joens and library director John O’Neill cut the ribbon to the door on the new extension.
“This is one of the most beautiful buildings in the community and it was built by the citizens of Cottonwood,” Joens said. “It’s good for us to come together to celebrate an accomplishment like this.”
The mayor also recognized several principal people who played a role in making the extension become a reality, especially the staff. She gave a little history of how the Cottonwood Public Library came about.
The vision of a library in Cottonwood began in the 1950s when the Library Extension Service in Phoenix sent a bookmobile to Cottonwood once a week. The driver told people then if they could find a place, the service would provide the books.
Members of the Cottonwood Civic Club got some space in a Quonset hut behind the civic center. A library board was form-ed and the library received assistance from the Yavapai County Library.
Around 1970, the Bookmarks was organized and received a $50,000 match grant to build a library. The city gave $10,000 and other money was raised through books sales, bake sales and special events. Individuals and businesses also donated money.
“But they were about $1,000 short. Thanks to Jennie Garrison, she put up the money,” Joens said.
That library, at 401 W. Mingus Ave. was dedicated Oct. 13, 1973.
Additions were made as the demand grew, but by 1980, officials knew they needed to start working toward a new bigger library.
In 1992, voters approved a 0.2-percent sales tax to build a 15,300-square foot library. By mid-1994, they moved into the new building at 100 S. Sixth St. The building was designed so it could expand.
The expansion has book racks, movie racks and cubby holes to read in along with a small stage and auditorium behind the circulation desk, which is ideal for small performances or to read to a group of children.
A large open doorway connects the old section with the new one.
Upstairs is a mezzanine with more books and panoramic views of the mountains from the many windows. Access is by a carpeted stairway or elevator.
At a table in the mezzanine, one boy just couldn’t wait and pulled a book off the shelves to have his mother read to him. Others walked up and down the aisles making comments like, “It’s pretty awesome,” and “Wow, this is great.”
One young man turned and said to his friend, “This is cool,” as he bounded up the stairs.
With the new addition, O’Neill said it makes a lot more room in the adult area for more books and publications.
“It’s beautiful,” O’Neill said as he looked around while people wandered through the new section. “In library land, it’s all good, especially for the children.”
The Cottonwood Public Library is located at 100 S. Sixth St. It opens Monday through Saturday at 9 a.m. Closing times vary, Mondays at 5:30 p.m., Tuesdays through Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 4 p.m.
The library is closed Sunday. They can be reached at 634-7559.