Centennial Celebrations All Year Long

ELPL is Celebrating our 100th Birthday This Year!

Saturday, March 11, East Lansing Public Library (ELPL) celebrated our centennial anniversary with a birthday extravaganza. An estimated 1,100 people attended!

Community members enjoyed activities for all ages, including face painting, balloon animals, and more. The event also featured live music by harpist Dorothea Fields, as well as giveaways, a photo booth, and birthday cake! David Andrews of WILX-TV10 hosted remarks with elected representatives and community leaders. Local poet Cindy Hunter Morgan shared an original poem.

In addition to live remarks, many people have sent in birthday wishes to the library! Watch all their wonderful messages here.

David Andrews also generously donated his time and baking skills, and created one of his Facebook-famous cakes, which was given away to a lucky attendee at the party!

WKAR and the East Lansing Fire Department are also celebrating their centennial birthdays this year, and joined in the celebrations. WKAR’s Robin Pizzo shared remarks and a poem, and led some of the giveaways. She was joined by the Curious Crew, who brought an activity for families. The East Lansing Fire Department brought a firetruck for kids to explore.

The library was honored to be the subject of a vintage-style travel print by Martens Printworks, a mid-Michigan artist who specializes in lithographs. This art print was unveiled at the birthday party, and is displayed proudly in the library near the service desk. This limited edition print is available for purchase at the library, and through the Martens Printworks website at www.martensprintworks.com.

At the birthday party, ELPL also launched the 100 Books Challenge. In this program, participants make a goal to read 100 books at their own pace, track their reading, and receive a prize upon completion. Books read for the 100 Books Challenge can also count towards reading hours for the Summer Reading Program, which will begin June 5.

In addition to the centennial birthday party, ELPL has festivities planned throughout the year. Starting in January, we launched the Centennial Book Club, which meets monthly and reads a book published from each decade of the last 100 years. This month’s selection is “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith, published in 1943. The group will meet to discuss the book on Monday, March 27, from 7-8pm. Snacks are provided, and participants will receive a special Centennial Book Club bookmark to keep.

The library is also sharing a monthly video series called “Paging Through the Past,” which explores the library’s long and storied history. Community Development and Volunteer Coordinator Phyllis Thode shares historical artifacts, interviews community members, and walks us through each decade of the last 100 years. The series can be viewed on our social media, and on our website.

Centennial celebrations will certainly be part of beloved traditions as well. Books, Bites & Bids - the library’s biggest annual fundraiser - will take place in person for the first time since 2019, on April 28 from 5:30-8:30pm. This event will feature a variety of auction baskets that community members can bid on, including some items commemorating the 100th anniversary. The evening will also include music, beer and wine, and a variety of foods. 

As part of the summer reading program, the library will challenge patrons to donate 100 items towards various local charities and nonprofits in the community, following this year’s program theme of “All Together Now.” More information about the summer reading program will be coming soon.

There's lots to do, so celebrate with us all year!!