Salina Public Library Mission 2016
Connecting people to information, learning and culture
1. Respect for People
2. Building connections with people we serve, community partners and co-workers
3. Customer Service: Customer Needs First
4. Learning: Being a trained and knowledgeable staff
5. Equal Access to Info and Library Services
6. Communication & Teamwork: Building value by working well together
7. Accountability: A good steward of community resources/tax dollars
8. Privacy & Confidentiality
9. Future Oriented Thinking and Planning
During the 10 years after Salina's founding in 1858, citizens began agitating for a library. At first, they pooled their reading materials and made them available to everyone in the community. In 1868, town leaders formulated a petition for a charter of the Salina Library Association “for the purpose and object of establishing a public and circulating library.” Nothing formal was organized, however, and for the next 35 years, library supporters frequented a variety of reading rooms around town.
During the 1890s, concerned citizens began meeting with the intent to provide a reading room for young people. Funds were raised, books donated and volunteers secured to staff a library for the next few years. When the Kansas Legislature established a law allowing cities to levy a tax to support a library, the proposition was put to a vote in Salina. Although it failed the first time, finally in 1899, the voters agreed to finance the community’s first city-owned library. The mayor appointed a library board and on January 2, 1900, the Salina Public library opened for business in the Odd Fellow Hall on Seventh Street. For a short while, operations were carried on in various temporary sites downtown, but in 1903, a new $15,000 Carnegie library was completed near the corner of Eighth Street and Iron Avenue. Here library staff served the city and county for the next 65 years, with an addition to the building completed in 1929. During this period, library collections and services continued to expand to the point that by the early 1950s, a larger facility was needed. However, it wasn’t until 1965 that the city passed a bond issue to erect a new library on the city-county complex at Ninth and Elm Street. The new library building held its grand opening on September 29, 1968. As in the first half of the century, library collections and services developed and grew in popularity during the next 25 years.
By 1990, with circulation statistics up and new technology on the horizon, many changes were inevitable. During this decade, the library automated the card catalog and circulation system; computer hardware and software, as well as other technology, were added for staff and patron use. Demands for youth services continued to escalate and this department, as well as others, needed more space to house library materials and expand programming. Plans for a major renovation project developed in 1992, with construction work beginning in August 1996. The unfinished basement area was enhanced to accommodate youth services and a community room, while the first floor was remodeled for various adult services.
The advent of the Internet and its popularity with patrons brought about additional innovations in a short time. In 2003, the library board decided to build a 7,000-square-foot, $1 million expansion that would house the ever-expanding technology services — a training room, more Internet stations, a digital design studio and a conference room. Construction began in the summer of 2004 and the library’s Technology Center officially opened in the spring of 2005. The 17-by-40-foot addition offers an inviting environment for users to surf the Net and improve their technology literacy.
Today, the Salina Public library, now more than 100 years old, enriches lives by providing accessible information, learning resources and services to meet the evolving needs of a dynamic and diverse community.
The library is governed by a Board of Trustees, whose members are appointed by the Mayor as provided in K.S.A. 12-1222, with powers and duties as provided in Kansas Statutes 12-1215 and 12-1225. The Board has the authority to levy a property tax budget for the support and operation of the library. The Board hires an administrator, the Library Director, and they establish the policies by which the library is administered.