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St. Helens library celebrating centennial this month

Library began with one bookshelf in what is now City Hall

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CITY OF ST. HELENS - Staff at the St. Helens Public Library are celebrating this month as the library hits its 100-year milestone. Pictured left to right: Nicole Woodruff, Brenda Herren, Nathan Jones, Margaret Jeffries and Diane Barbee.The St. Helens Public Library is holding a series of events, including two birthday parties, this month to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

The first birthday party will be held Monday, May 18, at 7 p.m. in the Columbia Center building, which houses the library. There will be cake, candles and singing, as well as a look back at the library's history over the past century.

Another, child-friendly birthday party will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 21. It will feature BJ the Clown's Traveling Comedy Show, as well as 1915-vintage games like relays, sack races and tug-of-war.

The parties are actually being held several days ahead of the library's actual 100th birthday. The library dates its beginnings back to a shelf of books in a kitchen cabinet at the E.A. Ross furniture store — what is now the council chambers of St. Helens City Hall — placed there on May 25, 1915. It was founded by the St. Helens Woman's Club, who operated the growing library until 1979, when it was officially incorporated as a department of the city of St. Helens.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CITY OF ST. HELENS - Birthday balloons outside the St. Helens Public Library, which is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding this month.The library is also hosting author and educator Robert Hamm for a lecture on Tuesday, May 12, at 7 p.m. Hamm will speak about his book, “Becoming Oregon: From Expedition to Exposition,” about the history of Oregon from the Lewis & Clark Expedition of the 1800s to the Lewis & Clark Exposition in 1905, and display his collection of historic newspaper articles about Oregon over the course of that century.

Throughout the month of May, display cases at the library will showcase historical photographs and memorabilia, and bestselling books from 1915 will be available to check out.

Library events are free and open to the public.

For more information on the celebrations, contact Library Director Margaret Jeffries at 503-397-4544 or margaretj@ci.st-helens.or.us.