Celebrating 100 Years!

June 8th, 2022 – Augusta Welsh, Adult Services                                           

This year the Library is celebrating our 100 year anniversary! What started as a small 2,600 square foot library built in 1922 has grown into the 39,670 square foot building we have today. In 1922, when the Carnegie Library was built, Cape Girardeau’s population was growing, as was the library’s collection. In 1922, the library housed 4,600 books; by 1931, they had 14,000. Because of this growth, the community was already looking for ways to expand the library in 1934. A one-story annex built in 1959 was a temporary fix to their issue of space. 

Within a decade, however, the idea of a brand new building in a new location had taken hold. During the next decade, community members lobbied and voted for tax levies to build a new library. The original building was built to serve a community of 10,000 and Cape Girardeau had a population of over 36,000 in 1978. In 1979, their efforts were successful, and a new building at this location on Clark Street opened. The population continued to grow, as did our collection, and by the 2000s, we needed more space. Renovations and an addition to this facility started in 2007 and resulted in the library building we have now! 

We have multiple events and programs planned as part of our anniversary celebrations. Our biggest is our Centennial Open House coming up on Wednesday, June 15th! This event will have a ceremonial ribbon cutting, light refreshments, activities for children, special displays, self-guided tours, and presentations. We will begin at 4:30pm and remain open for self-guided tours until 7pm. 

Some of our other anniversary programs are: 

*Our One-Hundred Days of Hobbies Program Series: Each week we will be highlighting different hobbies through displays, demonstrations, or other activities.
*One-Hundred Year Trivia Night (Friday, June 17 from 6:30-8:30pm): Sign up with teams of up to eight people to test out your knowledge of the past 100 years of events, movies, music, and sports!

*Animal Crossing Scavenger Hunt (Summer Long!): Join us for this virtual program! We have an island! Visit the Youth Services desk to find out how you can visit our island and grab one of our scavenger sheets to find 100 items this summer!
*Cupcake art with Cristy Crites (Friday, June 23rd at 2:00pm): Celebrate the library’s centennial by creating cupcake art with puff-paint frosting and SPRINKLES! Ages 6-8 Registration is required.
*Preschool Dance Party (Saturday, June 25th at 11:00am): Sometimes you’ve just gotta dance! Come get your groove on and celebrate summer reading and the library’s 100th birthday! Ages 2-6
*Birthday Cake Sculptures with Cristy Crites (Thursday, June 30th at 2:00pm): Celebrate the library’s centennial by creating a one-of-a-kind slice of cake. Ages 9-12. Registration is required.
*Jim Gill Family Concert (Friday, July 8th from 6:00-7:00pm): Jim Gill and his banjo are here to help us celebrate the library’s centennial.  You’ll be clapping, singing, dancing, and even sneezing along to the silly and inspiring music of this award-winning artist. All ages welcome!
*Secret Message in a Bottle (Wednesday, July 13th at 2:00pm):
Make a secret message to hide in a bottle and see if you can crack our codes! Ages 9-11. Registration is required. 

Photo: Display of Cape Girardeau Public Library’s History from creation to current. Location: CGPL’s lobby display case. #CGPL100


Cape Girardeau Public Library

Our mission is to be the community's first choice for information gathering experiences through social interaction, programming, technology and the written word for all ages. Come visit us today and follow us on Facebook to stay in the know.

lab image