Joplin Public Library marks 5th and 120th anniversaries

The Joplin Public Library celebrated two anniversaries on Sunday. KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro has more.

Director of the Joplin Public Library Jeana Gockley

The library’s roots date back to 1902 when the first Joplin public library was constructed with funds from a voter-approved 10-cent tax and a $40,000 grant from the Andrew Carnegie foundation.

As the city’s needs grew, the second JPL was built in 1980, opening the following year on the historic property where the Connor Hotel once stood in downtown Joplin. In 2017, the library recollected a third time to 20th and Connecticut.

Jeana Gockley, Director of the Joplin Public Library, spoke Sunday at an event marking the occasion of the fifth anniversary of opening the current location and the 120th anniversary of the first public library that was constructed in Joplin.

“The original Library was located on 9th and Wall; it was constructed in 1902 and opened in 1903. It was able to be built thanks to a grant program provided by Andrew Carnegie.”

The original library had approximately 2,500 books and a staff of three. To compare, the current Joplin Public Library has about 120,000 books and periodicals in addition to various services that go far beyond libraries of yesteryear.

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