At Sedona Public Library, a walk down the aisles and along the stacks may take you into the heart of all the Library offers, but it also provides a glimpse at the generous heart of this community.
You see, the Library was built, in its entirety, by you, the generous community of Sedona. It was thousands of people, and millions of dollars, that made possible this monumental gift at the end of White Bear Road, and many of these gifts are named throughout the building. Let’s go on a giving tour and see what we find.
Upon arriving, you can’t help but see the bronze sculpture of Sedona Schnebly. She stands as a figurehead proudly leading this ship of free information, entertainment, and service. She is here as part of the Art in Public Places program, installed in 1994, and we couldn’t think of a better home for her.
Before you enter the building, look at the view to the east. This 4.3 acre plot, replete with views and vegetation, was purchased in 1986 with a $326,400 donation from Ethel Low. The plaque at the entryway honors Ethel, and marks the beginning of an exciting philanthropic journey. Let’s keep walking.
Take a quick look to your left. Nearly 250 gold, silver, and bronze plaques sit behind large copper frames. They display the names of supporters who believed so strongly in this library they paid up to $5,000 to have their names at the building’s entrance. We think of them as the welcoming committee.
When you enter the building, you can’t help but to look up, look out, and be dazzled by 36 solid rock pillars, a few that appear to reach to the sky. Each of these stone towers bears the name(s) of their donors who, literally, support the building to this day with their gifts of $10,000 to $30,000.
Next, let’s meander through the stacks and notice the shiny plates on the end caps of shelving units. These signify dozens of supporters who invested in more than a half mile of book shelves, one foot at a time!
We can’t list all of the named areas and rooms that are a result of this community’s belief in the importance of a library, but let’s consider a few places that were so important to supporters they invested $7,500 to $30,000 for each—the children’s room, the fireplace, the atrium, the Arizona room, the computer area, the business office. No matter where you sit, read, study, work, or research, when you’re here at Sedona Public Library, you witness the investments of thousands of people.
One of the largest individual gifts, $100,000, named the Si Birch Community Room. Chances are, there isn’t a reader among you who has not sat in the community room to meet an author, listen to music, attend a meeting, or watch your children play and create.
Speaking of children, the Grandchildren’s Tree is a lovely and shining exhibit of donor support. Some 350 leaves hang from the tree, indicating donors who honor or remember their grandkids in gold, silver, or bronze.
Right next to the dazzling tree, you’ll find a large colorful plaque listing 324 names representing over $20,000 combined contributions to the tile project, originally located in the courtyard in the northeast corner of the building.
Finally, let’s go to the Silent Waterfall near the circulation desk. This delightful stained glass wall creates prisms and rainbows in every direction throughout the day. Each of these 32 panes denotes donors and patrons who honored or remembered their families and friends with a gift of $2,500. Their light shines out all day long.
And who are the artists? The donors? The investors? They might be your neighbor, friend, uncle, or great grandma. Ask around, and if you meet someone who has given to the Library, recently, or years ago, say “thanks” for making Sedona Public Library a landmark, and a beautiful one, of this amazing region.
Better yet, come by, walk around on your own, or let us know if you’d like a personal tour. We’d love to walk with you and learn your library story.
Thanks, Sedona, for giving this town a library. It’s a good one!
By the way, come by and check out the Grandchildren’s Tree. Only five more leaves to go, and we’ll be ready to start the next branch!
Sedona Public Library is a nonprofit organization. Please consider making a gift at sedonalibrary.org/donate.
Sedona Public Library
Column for December 27, 2019
Written by Anne Marie Mackler, Development Director
Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News and is also presented on Sedona Biz.