A local group of book lovers established Sedona’s first library in a donated space with three shelves of donated books and magazines.
The Library grew, and once the Library was established, the working volunteers organized as a Board of Trustees. The Board signed a 3-year lease for the Riordan (Redstone) Building on Apple Avenue and Jordan Road in Uptown. They hired a librarian who earned $50 a month. Coconino County began contributing $480 a year which went towards the rent. The Board reached out to additional volunteers, an early group of the Friends of the Sedona Library, who were very active in the day-to-day operations.
Sedona Public Library incorporated as a private non-profit 501c3 organization and had a collection of 6,230 books. Two local women, Eugenia Wright and Helen Ecker, donated land on Jordan Road for a library building. The Sedona Red Rock News reported that the donation was prompted by a desire to see the land used to benefit the greatest number of people in the community. Eugenia and Helen selected the Library as most representative of this ideal.
The Board raised funds from the community to build a new library on the donated land with the help of the The Friends of the Sedona Library who launched the campaign to raise $75,000 in August, 1966. By 1969, they’d raised more than $77,000 which helped with additional costs that accumulated over the three-year campaign.
The Friends of the Sedona Library, Inc. was incorporated to support the Library through fundraising and volunteering. It is a separate non-profit 501c3 from Sedona Public Library.
The Library broke ground on their new building, and Sen. Barry Goldwater, the keynote speaker, said, “A community without a library is a community without culture and without the backup needed by local education. I am particularly proud to be here today to pay my respects to people who recognized a problem and who solved it on their own without leaning on the federal government for help.”
The Library opened is new 5,000-square-foot Library building on Jordan Road on October 26.
The Library Board of Trustees began researching ways to expand the library building as in 16 years it had outgrown Sedona’ needs and was too cramped for the expanding community.
Sedona resident Ethel M. Low donated $326,000 to the Library to purchase land for a new and larger library. The Board of Trustees hired the Design Group to design the building. The Sedona Red Rock News reported that Mrs. Low had wanted to do something for the community that had a long-lasting benefit, and she believed the Library was the best investment for it was “a service that would always be needed and one that would benefit people of all ages and from every walk of life.”
The Board of Trustees began fundraising for the new building at the Jordan Road Street Fair where they raised $9,000 which convinced them and the Friends that they could again raise public funds could again be raised for a library building.
The Library held ground-breaking ceremonies on October 2 for the what would be the 24,000 square foot building designed by Mike Bower and Max Licher of Design Group Architects. The construction industry donated immensely to the effort and the estimated $2.5 million project. Contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers associated with the job gave gifts of materials and labor. Sedonan Steve Driscoll, project manager and owner of Driscoll Contracting, Inc. and a long-time member of the Board of Trustees, said, “Everyone who’s working on the project wants to stand there one day and say ‘There it is…I helped build it.’” Hundreds of individuals contributed to the construction, and the building is owned outright by the Library, and the community, with no loans or government support.
On May 14, a parade of 500 Sedona citizens formed “Books Across Sedona” and moved 5,000 books from the existing library on Jordan Rd. to the new library building at 3250 White Bear Road. The new building opened its doors to the public on June 6.
Locals dedicated the statue of Sedona Schnebly in front of the new library which served as Sedona’s first piece of public art.
In October, Sedona Public Library joined the Yavapai Library Network, which increased the number of resources available to our patrons from 60,000 to 600,000. Additionally, in December the Library began offering internet access to the public.
On September 7, the Library opened its expanded children’s area with an additional 1,500 square feet making the building’s total square footage 25,500.
The Library opened the Village Service Center in December providing a place in the Village of Oak Creek for patrons to pick up and return items. The public also had internet access computers and free Wi-Fi in the new service center.
Veterans History Project volunteers began meeting with veterans at the Library to collect their stories which are sent to the Library of Congress. Over 250 stories have been gathered.
The City of Sedona Citizen Survey showed that 88 percent of citizens used the Library’s services within the past year. Further, the Library received a score of 81 out of a possible 100 for the quality of services, an increase from the previous two surveys and the highest rating of all services provided by the City. The survey showed that 63 percent of the population used the Library anywhere from three to more than 26 times in the past year.
Sedona Public Library celebrated its 50th anniversary with a party on June 6, which was also the 14th anniversary of the opening of the White Bear Road library. At the celebration, the Sedona Schnebly statue was rededicated.
The Rotary Club of Sedona launched Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program and began registration. Families can still sign up to have books sent every month to preschool children in Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek free of charge.
The Library introduced self-service checkout stations with RFID technology.
Sedona Public Library was named a Star Library by Library Journal magazine. The designation is based on four types of per-capita use: visits, circulation, public access computer use, and program attendance.
To better serve residents of the Village of Oak Creek, the Library moved the Village Service Center to Bell Rock Plaza.
The Library introduced the ACT One Culture Pass which gave library cardholders the opportunity to access 17 different museums and cultural attractions across the state.
The Library provided an adjacent property on White Bear Road to the Friends of Sedona Library to be used as a bookstore. The Friends’ entire inventory of books and other materials became now available all year long for patrons and visitors alike.
Results of a citizen survey conducted by the City of Sedona indicated that library services received one of the highest scores for quality of community service, with only fire services and emergency medical services rated higher.
Sedona Public Library opened a full-service Library in the existing library space of the closed Big Park Community School. The Village Library is open five days a week, has three small meeting rooms, the Javelina Room (a community room), a children’s area, six public computers, Wi-Fi, two outdoor patios, and 26,000 items checkout annually.
Sedona Public Library opened an 18,000 square foot commons area between the Library and the Book Store on White Bear Rd. This large furnished outdoor meeting space includes the Friends Fire Circle, a gas fireplace where groups often gather. Three hundred local donors purchased etched pavers which are dispersed across the tiered patio spaces.
Nearly 113,000 people come through the doors of both Library locations each year. Patrons and visitors enjoy over 600 programs and events annually and have access to our collection of more than 60,000 items along with the 1.3 million items available through the Yavapai Network. The Library partners with more than 80 local businesses and organizations.
Volunteers are a cornerstone of the Library, and more than 110 volunteers, from teens to senior citizens, help keep SPL running smoothly. Volunteers provide nearly 16,000 hours of service on an annual basis.
Sedona Public Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We are grateful for the support of the City of Sedona, Yavapai and Coconino Counties, Friends of the Sedona Library, businesses and foundations, and individuals like you.