50 years, 1 community: Langley Library celebrates

In its evolution from a one-room facility to the community center it is today, the Langley Library has a lot to celebrate in its first 50 years with Sno-Isle Libraries. But staff do ask for a little something from the community to help celebrate.

Langley Library staff member Robin Obata stands with the time capsule being prepared for the library’s 50th anniversary with Sno-Isle Libraries. Additional time capsule items are needed and can be dropped off at the library.

In its evolution from a one-room facility to the community center it is today, the Langley Library has a lot to celebrate in its first 50 years with Sno-Isle Libraries. But staff do ask for a little something from the community to help celebrate.

“After 50 years with Sno-Isle, we’re thrilled to be here,” said Vicky Welfare, branch manager.

The community is welcome to join the free open house celebration at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25. Share library memories and hopes or visions for the library’s future, enjoy refreshments and music and be entered to win gift certificates from local businesses.

Also bring an item for the time capsule to the library before or during the celebration. The time capsule will be opened in 10 years.

“It’s a snapshot of life in 2012,” Welfare said. Local businesses are asked to bring an item representing their work, like a daily specials sheet from a restaurant or a sales flyer or brochure. Individuals can write down library memories for the time capsule or bring memorabilia.

So far, the time capsule’s picture of life on South Whidbey has captured Langley Middle School through yearbooks and Record graduate issues, local art with a glass bauble from Callahan’s Firehouse Gallery and Whidbey Island Center for the Arts and Whidbey Children’s Theater programs and photos, Audubon print cards from Lowry James Gallery, menus from restaurants, a price sheet from the Star Store, Island Transit bus schedules and a voters pamphlet.

A highlight is the photobook staff have been putting together. They took photos of buildings and people around town to include in the time capsule. It will be fun to see how people, especially children, have changed in 10 years, Welfare said.

“We encourage people to come on down. There’s still time,” Welfare said.

History and future

The Langley Library has been in the same building for 90 years, with a couple of renovations. The land for the library was originally donated by Mayor Helen Coe, Langley’s first mayor, and the structure was built in 1922 under the direction of the town’s Ladies Civic Improvement Club, according to Welfare. The one-room facility, dedicated in 1923, was also used for weddings, classes and as a recreation hall. It was expanded in 1980 and again in 1994 until the building looked like it does today.

The Langley Library became a branch of Sno-Isle Libraries in 1962. The Sno-Isle Libraries is a system of libraries in Snohomish and Island counties.

“Back in the early days, it was just for checking out books. Now, we have so much more to offer,” Welfare said. From DVDs to the Internet, the years have transformed the library and opened it to a number of new purposes. Now, the library offers online databases for patrons to do research, an online library catalog and book service between Sno-Isle Libraries.

“I think that we’re a vital place in this community,” Welfare said. The Langley Library has become a hangout for children, a place for friends to meet up and a place for the community to learn through programs and resources.

“In addition to providing entertainment and education to the community, this is the go-to place,” Welfare said.

The staff is an integral part of the community, too.

“People stop our staff in the streets and ask them reference questions or give them library books to return so I think we have a positive relationship with the community,” Welfare said. She started her career with Sno-Isle 28 years ago as a page at the Edmonds Library. In 1998, she became branch manager at the Langley Library.

While continuing their legacy of community service and involvement is a given in the future, Welfare said she wants to hear from the community about what they think the library will be like in 10 years.

“Who knows, maybe we won’t have any books anymore,” Welfare laughed. “I hope not. I think they’re still a viable source even with downloading. It’s interesting to see how technology moves on.”

To include an item in the time capsule, drop it off at the Langley Library or send your item to: Langley Library 50th Anniversary Committee, PO Box 365, Langley, WA 98260.

For more information, call 221-4383.



What’s in the time capsule

Langley Middle School and High School 2012 yearbooks

South Whidbey Record issue of graduates

Price sheet from the Star Store

Island Transit bus schedules

Whidbey Children’s Theater program and photos

Menus from local restaurants

Brochures from inns and hotels

Posters, programs from the Whidbey Island Area Fair, Whidbey Island Center for the Arts and library programs

Glass bauble from Callahan’s Firehouse Gallery

Audubon print cards from Lowry James Gallery

Book of poetry from David Whyte

Voter’s pamphlet

Trails maps

Drop off items at the Langley Library, located at 104 Second St. in Langley, or at the open house celebration at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25.

For details, call 221-4383.


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