In a Kansas township of 900 citizens sits the last built Carnegie Library that is on both the state and federal historic registries. That library will be added on to this year, after the community celebrates breaking ground.
There will be a groundbreaking ceremony at 5 p.m. Sept. 27 for the Canton Township Carnegie Library, 203 N. Main, Canton.
“Now it can become a facility that can provide learning and enjoyment for all ages,” said Sandra Dresher, President of the Canton Township Carnegie Library Board
Following five years of planning and three years of fund raising starting in 2014, a group of concerned citizens participated in a campaign to improve the library. Construction will begin in October. The project will address the needs of the library due to the age and original inaccessible features of the building.
An addition on the ground level will allow access to persons with disabilities and provide entrance/exits that comply with fire code regulations. Currently, there is only one door to the library. An upgrade to central heating and air conditioning and waterproofing the basement is also planned.
In 1909, the Canton Literary Study Club was organized by 12 Canton women. In December 1909, a public library was opened by the club in city hall and operated with volunteers until 1916, when a paid librarian was hired. In 1915, Mrs. P.M. Grattan saw a Carnegie Library while on a trip in Illinois and brought the idea of a Carnegie Library to Canton. In June 1916, an election was held for a township tax to support the library. It passed by seven votes. After an interruption due to WWI, construction began in July 1921 and the Canton Township Carnegie Library opened Oct. 1, 1921.
A 100 year celebration is in the planning stages for October 2021.