The last time I wrote about Kansas City, I told you about a phantom cow. This time I’m writing about a real library.
This information is from the Kansas City Star of 9/26/12
The first library in the Argentine District of Kansas City, Kansas was built in 1917 from money donated by Andrew Carnegie. It had a grand sweeping stairwell, which was architecturally impressive, but a serious barrier to those with mobility challenges. The library had limited space and old wiring. Only twenty computers were available to users. It wasn’t unusual to have waiting lines four to five people deep for each machine. The Argentine is a working class area with a high percentage of Hispanic families.
Years ago, neighborhood volunteers started raising money for a new building. Through one of the worst economies in United States history, elementary students donated pennies; junior high and high schoolers tossed in the occasional dollar. Fund raisers such as car washes added cash. The hard times provided more motivation since people knew a library could provide steps toward a better way of life.
The Kansas City, Kansas School District, which runs the library system in the city told volunteers if they raised 1.5 to 2 million dollars, the district would put in the rest. After a couple of years, when the fund reached $500,000, the district bought an old grocery store and started demolition for the new building. The volunteers continued their efforts saving penny by penny.
On September 26, 2012, the new South Branch Library opened in the Argentine District of Kansas City, Kansas. The new library has 22 laptops, 20 desktop computers for children and 24 more for adults. It was built on one level for handicapped access, which makes it great for people in a nearby retirement home.
Kudos to the people of the Argentine.