KANSAS CITY, Mo. – In 1890, there was an excessive amount of funds that was available for a local judge to draft legislation to award money to Westport to build a public school library. It took a little over $5,000 at the time to build the Westport Branch of the Kansas City Public Library.
125 years later, the Westport Branch still stands today and is now celebrating 125 years of community learning.
“It’s a historic treasure, it’s a gem,” said Bre Hansen, Assistant Branch Manager at Westport Library, “When you have this historic building in downtown Westport, it’s the heart of Westport. It’s the heart of the community. the heart of Kansas City.
Despite the changes Westport has undergone over its 125 years of existence and the changes the library has made over the years, its environment still remains strong in the eyes of many.
“It’s important to have something that stays put,” said author and library neighbor Vern Barnet. “Having such a robust heritage building gives us a pivot around which to celebrate Westport’s identity.”
People like the Herrera family have said they have frequented the library for decades, fascinated by its welcoming atmosphere and access to knowledge.
“The information,” Georgina Herrera said with her nephew in tow. “Let them learn everything.”
Barnet explains that the impact of the Westport library is much more than a giant old building with books in it.
“The library has been filled with friends for thousands of years,” said Barnet, “through the collection of important books. It really is a sign of our civilization and a sign of what makes Westport such a special place.”
Westport Library will have many activities to celebrate its 125 years of existence. Wednesday’s celebration included a reception with library executives and local civil rights leader Alvin Brooks.
Thursday 23 February the festivities continue with story time and a concert from 3.30pm to 5.30pm