Grand Opening, Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, Kansas

Exterior The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library stands at 10th Street and Washburn Ave. in Topeka, Kansas. The newly-dedicated rennovation to the library was designed by internationally-known architect, Michael Graves. The three story addition surrounds three sides of the original 1951 building. The main floor entrance lobby is topped by a 50 ft. diameter, two story high rotunda. The new construction phase of the library was completed one year ago. By January 2002 the older portions of the building had been refurbished to complete the project. Library staff were delighted to have First Lady, Laura Bush, help with the dedication on Wed., January 9th. An ex-librarian, she also read a book by a Kansas author to 3rd graders from Randolph Elementary School.
main entrance see also 1950s view
north facade
west facade south facade

Interior Inside features of the library include an art gallery, a computer center, an audio-video collection, an auditorium, a bookstore, a cafe, Circulation Desk, Red Carpet Services (for those with hearing or vision impairments), Youth Services, Periodicals Collections, and Adult Collections and New Books suites. Around walls above the Reference Desk is a stunning 200 ft. mural by Kansas artist Stan Herd. A reading room faces north. The building is appointed with Graves-designed furniture and carpeting. A 36 ft. tall atrium fills the center of the libraary. The upper level houses offices and the Topeka Room, with it's collection of historic furnishings and appointments and stacks of books by Topeka authors.
Grand Opening foyer flowers entrance rotunda Youth Services window into Youth Services Periodicals counter
Reference counter, with mural
piece of 50 ft. Stan Herd mural
section of Stan Herd mural, reference area
reading room, self-portrait painting by R. J. Hunt Young Adult Services
On the second level of the library, the Topeka Room has a warm and cozy atmosphere. It includes furnishing from a number of famous Topeka residences, as well as a collection of writing by Topeka authors, including Rex Stout and Rev. Charles Sheldon. While the books are designated for reference only, patrons are welcome to relax and study in the Topeka Room.
Topeka Room
Furniture is from fine older Topeka homes Topeka historian and supporter of Kansas writers, Susan Marchant Inside antique mechanical music box


On Saturday, January 5 the new Alice Sabatini Gallery of the library was dedicated. The opening exhibit was of Alice's watercolors and graphic design work. In the months to come, the gallery's permanent collection will be featured in several exhibitions. The library's art gallery had been closed for 5 years during planning and rennovation. Topeka art lovers are glad to have their gallery back!
The Alice Sabatini Gallery Gallery walls Pots by retired Washburn University professor, Jack E. Wright African art collection donated by Cotter and Jeanne Hircshberg The table is a new acquisition

Area Authors
and Artists
The week's acitivities included programs for kids of all ages and adults. Various library rooms were dedicated. Music, art, writing and dancing were featured. Below are a few of the many area artists and lecturers who were involved in the celebration.

Don Coldsmith
Kansas author of
historical fiction

Don Coldsmith speaksDon answers questions
Don Coldsmith of Emporia, Kansas has written nearly 40 novels. Don is a member of the Western Writers of America and winner of the Edgar Wolfe Award for lifetime contribution to Literature. He has written 39 novels of the American West.

Dennis Lee Rogers

Navajo Nation

Dennis discusses his sand paintingDennis concentrates on painting in colored sandsIn tribal dressPlaying the Indian fluteHoops as sunflower

spacer Donating a book on Indian religions to the new library Dennis doing traditional mens' dance Traditional mens' dance 4 hoops -- stairway to success 5 hoops, eagle spreads his wings

Max Yoho
author and humorist
Signage in the foyerMax weaves a storyScene from the back of the roomBook signingMax presenting

Mystery Writers' Panel
Northeast Kansas authors:
Nancy Pickard
Bobbie Pfeifer
Tom Ellis
Nancy PickardBobbie PfeiferTom EllisMystery panel

Also visit the official site of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library:
See also the photo essay of completed new construction phase -- Jan. 2001
Read about Library Director David Leamon in the Sun., Jan. 27 Topeka Capital-Journal

bar grapgic

All photos © 2002 by Carol Yoho
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