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History Timeline

Our History

  1. November 9


    The Friends Foundation of Topeka Public Library (predecessor to The Library Foundation) founded and incorporated by the Friends

  2. January


    Library Trustees determined that new library facilities were going to be built, efforts to grow the Foundation’s support begin

  3. November


    The library’s name changed to the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library as the Library District encompasses more of the county.

  4. January


    Foundation renamed to The Library Foundation as it is charged with managing and growing the initial $300,000 corpus.

  5. January


    The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library asks The Library Foundation & the Friends of the Library to take lead role to execute bond campaign for new library facility.

  6. September


    The Wilder Society was created as a planned giving society for The Library Foundation. It is named in recognition of early library benefactors Edward and Mary Wilder.

  7. 1999

    Connie Menninger led the efforts to secure the six stained glass windows from the original library building that had been located on the statehouse grounds at 8th and Jackson. She was able to reunite five of the six windows in time for the library’s renovation project in 1999. Three of the windows had ribbons with topics of study: History, Science, and Art. The other three held phrases of a quote by Francis Bacon: “Reading Maketh a Full Man; Conference a Ready Man; Writing an Exact Man.”

  8. January


    The Michael Graves designed building opens thanks to The Great Expectations Campaign. A $4.3 million fundraising campaign by The Library Foundation. The library gallery was formally renamed The Alice C. Sabatini Gallery in 2002 after the current library facility opened. The Sabatini Gallery is named to honor the memory of local artist, educator, designer and philanthropist Alice C. Sabatini.

  9. May


    The 6th original stained glass window “Writing an Exact Man,” is donated to the collection. Dr. W. Walter and Connie Menninger made the generous gift to make the purchase possible, and after being cleaned and restored, it has now rejoined the others to complete Bacon’s quote.

  10. September


    The Baker Genealogy Center is made possible with generous support of Dr. Phillip and Betty Baker. It houses comprehensive resources in print, electronic form or microfilm.

  11. October


    The Foundation provides and arranges major funding to develop The Kids Library is space for learning and exploration.

  12. June


    The Foundation’s work with Capitol Federal® Foundation creates a literacy partnership to be enjoyed across Shawnee County. The $200,000 gift and support from the Friends enable the library to purchase the new bookmobile, Sherlock.

  13. May


    The Alice bookmobile arrives. This new bookmobile is made possible by the estate gift of Margaret and Hugh McCausland - longtime Friends of the Library volunteers and book lovers.

  14. Dec


    A mobile classroom for preschool-aged children, the Learn & Play Bus, was purchased. This mobile classroom helps children develop through playing, talking, reading, singing and writing so that they are ready for Kindergarten.

  15. Apr


    Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library launched at Topeka Main Post Office joined by Postmaster Sheryl Stark. With major funding from The Library Foundation, the library and United Way of Greater Topeka partnered to make this free book program available to all Shawnee County children birth to 5 years old.

  16. Mar


    The new Adventuremobile arrives! The partnership with Security benefit has enabled the Library Foundation to provide funding for a vehicle that offers library experience for children by providing appealing materials to supplement school library and also encourages reading.

  17. Jul


    Kansas Health Foundation granted $228,000 for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

  18. Oct


    Grand Opening of Claire’s Courtyard and Amphitheater. The project is a result of the first million dollar gift received by The Library Foundation from Dr. Glenn & Claire Swogger. New public space will include a year-round sunroom, courtyard with café services and an outdoor amphitheater-type program-classroom area.

  19. Dec


    New Red Carpet vehicle is purchased by donors gifts to The Library Foundation.

  20. 2020

    Circulation Plaza remodel is completed with funds from The Library Foundation

  21. Aug


    Jerry and Judy Reed Studio opens inside the remodeled Alice C. Sabatini Art Gallery. The funds for this multipurpose space were donated through the generous gifts of the Jerry and Judy Reed family.

  22. Mar


    Millennium Café remodel completed, Café reopens during COVID-19 Pandemic. The Library Foundation retains charge to oversee operations.

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