Johnson City Public Library to celebrate over 125 years of service | News

The Johnson City Public Library will celebrate its 127th birthday Friday from 4:30-6 pm

Attendees can enjoy cake, refreshments and door prizes during this time. The title of the book that has been chosen for the library’s summer community reading program, One Story, One Community, will be announced.

“The goal is to have as many people as possible read the same book,” Marketing Coordinator Hannah Kiger said.

The library will have several hard copies of the chosen book as well as digital copies. The door prizes will provide attendees with an opportunity to see the recent updates to the library as they must get a card stamped at each stop in order to be entered in the prize drawings.

There were plans to celebrate the 125th birthday in 2020, but they were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 125th birthday celebration was also meant to include a party and community reading along with an author event.

“We were so excited to celebrate our 125th birthday in 2020, but 2020 had other plans for us,” Library Director Julia Turpin said in a press release. “So, this year we decided to honor our 127 years of service instead.”

The library first opened its doors in an upstairs room in the Reeves Building on May 1, 1895. It was founded by ladies from the Monday Club, a group formed for the purpose of studying art, history and literature.

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“I think that speaks to things that are important to us still,” Kiger said, “like lifelong learning and empowerment through learning and acquiring knowledge.”

According to the library’s website, there was originally a subscription fee of $1 a year, but the fee ended in 1912 after it received support from the city.

In 1913, Samuel Cole Williams donated $10,000 and a parcel of land on Roan Street to the library in honor of his son, Mayne Williams. This allowed the library to plan for a more permanent location after moving several times over the years.

After raising enough funds, construction of the Mayne Williams Public Library began in 1920 and doors finally opened to the public on Jan. 1, 1923. The library has since made a few more moves, eventually landing at its current location on West Millard Street in 1999.

The Monday Club relinquished ownership and management responsibilities to the city in 1981 and the library was renamed as the Johnson City Public Library. The library now contains over 160,000 print and non-print items, including books, magazines, audio books, videos, DVDs and compact disks. It also provides a reference center of electronic databases that can be accessed in-house or remotely from the library’s website.

For more information and to stay caught up on upcoming events, visit the library’s website at

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