June 27, 2013

Library has versatile past

Library continues to boom in post Carnegie era

The Express-Star

CHICKASHA — History books line the shelves of the Chickasha Library, but this building proves to have a rather interesting past in itself.

The corner of Sixth Street and Iowa Avenue has been a haven for book-lovers for over 100 years.

“It was originally a Carnegie building,” said 14-year Library Director Catharine Cook, “because the women of the town wrote to Andrew Carnegie when he was building libraries across the country, asking him to build one here. His secretary wrote back and said he would give them $10,000 for building a library as long as they agreed to forever provide the funds necessary to run the library.”

This building was eventually demolished because of wear and tear, and a new library was constructed over the same area of land in 1964. Almost 50 years later the library withstood another transitional phase when it underwent construction to add an extra 750 square feet of reading space for its patrons.

Various transformations of the library seem to have made it all the more appealing to both users and staff, however.

“Business is booming,” Cook said. “We offer so many services for so many people and age groups.”

According to Cook, business flow remains constant throughout the year but the demographics slightly change with the seasons.

“We definitely serve a lot more children during the summer because they are out of school,” Cook said.

A recent addition to the library has tempted more children to demand trips to the library.

“There was a fundraiser for the library last February that allowed us to purchase touchscreen computers for preschoolers — fun and educational games are on there, but we don’t tell them that,” Cook joked.

Though elders may also find themselves yearning for frequent visits. Adults are welcomed to author series and luncheons via Friends of the Chickasha Public Library, and adolescents can cozy up with their favorite codex in the Teen Zone.

Cook said libraries are, essentially, a vital asset to all ages because knowledge is power.

“All information adds to all information, the more sources the better,” Cook said. “Libraries have a collected knowledge of everything we’ve ever known, and it’s preserved and organized to be retrieved.”

To compete with recent advancements in technology, the library has recently purchased access to new databases that allow its guests to conduct research in automotive repair, lessons in language and genealogy exploration. Additional services include: summer reading programs, microfilm access, interlibrary loans and recorded books, among others.

Interested parties may attain more information on the Chickasha Library by calling 405-222-6075 or visiting