Have you ever gone to a baseball doubleheader? I love them! When my dad told me this used to be a staple of the Major League Baseball schedule, I found it hard to believe―two baseball games for one long glorious afternoon at the ballpark? What a great way to spend the day!
On March 29, 2019, Mid-Continent Public Library had the library version of a doubleheader. On that morning, the Library held a rededication ceremony at its Camden Point Branch, and two hours later, another at its Dearborn Branch. These libraries, along with most of the libraries in Platte County, were originally founded as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal Works Progress Administration (WPA) project in the 1930s. By the 1990s, these two libraries became “twins” and forever joined at the hip. Ground was broken for both new buildings on the same day. The original grand openings were held on the same day. The building materials were the same, and the original floor plans were the same. It seemed only fitting that the libraries be reimagined, renewed, and rededicated on the same day in 2019.
The events were great―each attended by about 65 people, which represents more than ten percent of each city’s population. Clearly these events were important to their residents, but even more clear to me is how important local libraries are to small, rural communities. We heard great stories from Missouri State Representative Ken Wilson about how his children and grandchildren enjoy the library and about the importance of libraries. Mayor Wilson of Camden Point talked about how he and his family also enjoy library services and how the library provides a place for citizens to review city ordinances and collaborate with city representatives as well as with each other.
Then at the Dearborn Branch’s rededication ceremony, Breanna Cheadle, Alderman on the Dearborn City Board and President of the Dearborn Community Betterment Association, spoke about the impact of libraries everywhere. She chronicled libraries helping children, being warming and cooling places, and even helping with the opioid crisis in some communities. Susan Fedrizzi of the North Platte Historical Society spoke about the importance of history and how libraries can help preserve that for a community. Finally, Elaine Greer, owner of Switch Track Mall, spoke about the importance of the Library helping small businesses and small town banks find the information they need to be competitive and successful.
What is very clear to me from visiting with these community leaders in their hometowns is that libraries matter and that the library’s investment in their community matters. The modern public library is about providing space and information for people to become more successful―whether they are in a very big city or a very small town.
MCPL Director & CEO