FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Last Friday, the Noel Wien Library celebrated 40 years of service to the community with a presentation and party to honor the occasion.
David Spindler was there and files this report.
Since 1977, the Noel Wien Library has been a part of the Fairbanks community and has provided a wide range of literary offerings, both written and digital. On Friday, library's director Melissa Harter introduced the granddaughters of Noel Wien - Kelly Wien and Leslie Hajdukovich. Next, Chief of Staff for Representative Scott Kawasaki Mercedes Colbert presented the 40th anniversary citation for the library. Former library director Patricia Gaven also appeared. In the early 1970's, she raised $4.9 million dollars to support the construction of the Noel Wien Library 40 years ago.
Patricia Gaven; Retired Library Director>>"You work two hundred square feet in a log library and you're writing the proposals and your planning how many books will we need, what the staffing will be, what's the services. And this community now and then was extremely supportive of libraries."
Harter says it was definitely a surprise to see Gaven return to Fairbanks for the first time since she left in 1975.
Melissa Harter; Noel Wien Library Director>>"Really quite touching that she would want to come back and see the fruits of her labor I think is what we should call this because she really is responsible for the fact that this is a library system and not just a library anymore and that was her vision."
Throughout the evening, there was local music as well as self-guided tours of library artwork. The library foundation also played a big role at the celebration. They were selling start tree plants from the original library trees from the entryway.
Aldean Kilbourn; Library Foundation Member>>"Three of us spent three, over three hours cutting off little two and a half to four inch starts. Stuck them into tubes of water or glasses of water and let them start growing. We did about six hundred and fifty of those. As time went on and they got roots when we went to put them into the dirt. A lot of them all of a sudden lost all their leaves and were like their dead! But they really weren't dead. It's very typical of Ficus Benjamina tree or plant to drop its leaves."
Kilbourn says it was a relief to be sharing a piece of the library's history.
Aldean Kilbourn; Library Foundation Member>>"I really think that that's what was the emphasis behind the project in the first place was oh wow, you can have a piece of history of the library."
Harter says it's her hope that the Noel Wien Library will continue to thrive for another 40 years and beyond.
Melissa Harter; Noel Wien Library Director>>"Were hoping to to make it even more special as time goes by and provide information that helps with the changing times. I mean we provide literacy, traditional literacy but not only that anymore we have to be aware of digital literacy. So it's really a community center. People come here for help with lots and lots of things and were very happy to provide it."
David Spindler reporting.