Photo provided
The Langley Library is pictured in 1924.

Photo provided The Langley Library is pictured in 1924.

Friends of the Langley Library celebrating 100 years

A charitable group that has survived one whole century in Langley will be celebrating this weekend.

A charitable group that has survived one whole century in Langley will be celebrating that fact this weekend.

In 1916, a group of South Whidbey women founded the Ladies’ Civic Improvement Club, which had the goal of building a library in Langley. The group became officially incorporated in 1921 and would later be known as the Friends of the Langley Library.

Langley’s first female mayor, Helen Coe, was passionate about getting a library built and even quit her job as mayor to be its first librarian. Jacob Anthes, who led the city’s early development, deeded a plot of land to her for the public library to be constructed on, which was before Second Street even existed. Coe donated $500 towards construction costs.

“Five hundred dollars was a lot of money in those days, and it may have been the majority of the cost to build that building,” said Bob Waterman, a local historian with the South Whidbey Historical Society.

The original 1,185-square-foot structure also doubled as a community center and, sometimes, an Episcopal Church.

“Even though it’s small, it was a real community center as well as a library for a long time,” Waterman said.

Additions to the building were made in 1980 and 1993. The Langley Library became part of Sno-Isle Libraries in 1962.

Over the years, the Friends of the Langley Library have been instrumental in raising funds for the library. The organization will be holding a centennial celebration 1-4 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 18.

Kathleen Petrich, the co-chairperson for the Friends of the Langley Library, said this Saturday’s festivities will include a book sale, live music, activities for kids, historical tours, individual cupcakes, raffle prizes and important speakers.

Langley Mayor Scott Chaplin, Langley Library Manager Vicky Welfare, Friends of the Langley Library President Jill Edwards and Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Lois Langer Thompson will all be speaking at the event.

Waterman will lead brief walking tours near the library. Petrich said there will be a ceremonial cake-cutting, but individuals will be able to take home their own boxed cupcakes.

Raffle prizes will be available, such as gift baskets from Langley businesses, wine glasses and a rug.

The Langley Library was finished and dedicated in 1923. According to Welfare, efforts are ongoing now to bring updates to the library that will improve access for people with disabilities.

The state Legislature has approved a matching grant from the Washington Department of Commerce. Sno-Isle Libraries and the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation are committed to raising the rest of the funds.

Construction on the project could happen as soon as 2022. By the time the library turns 100 in 2023, Welfare is hopeful the renovations will be complete.

More in News

Burn bans eased

A return to wet, cooler weather means campers and s’mores enthusiasts can spark up fires once again.

Public feedback on proposed Port of Coupeville tax levy remains positive

The port will continue taking public comments through Oct. 22.

Langley names new public works director

Four months after eliminating its public works director, Langley is bringing back the position.

No Harvest Festival this year

The Whidbey Island Harvest Festival has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.

Whidbey Island schools have seen only a few ‘devious licks’ copycats

A viral TikTok challenge has touched Whidbey, but the trend was short-lived.

Health officials urge residents to get flut shots

There is a greater risk of flu transmission this year as COVID-19 guidelines are eased.

Passport delays continue at Langley office, across nation

COVID-related office closures and a shortage of employees have added to the wait time.

Towers, Erickson vie for fire board position

The position garnered little attention until Island County’s special filing period last month.

Parks, Rec district hopes for share of stimulus windfall

The request spans seven projects including improving athletic fields and building pickleball courts.

Most Read