On Saturday, April 28th, 2012, the Kate Waller Barrett Branch Library at 717 Queen Street in Alexandria, Virginia, invites members of the community to come together to piece together a puzzle commemorating Alexandria Library’s 75th Anniversary as a public library. Created for this event, by Alexandria Library’s Photo Librarian Julia Downie, the puzzle will depict scenes from the Barrett Library’s present and past, and will be a way for community members of all ages to learn more about the history of the library through a fun, collaborative event. Puzzling will begin at 10:00 am and continue until 4:00 pm.
The Alexandria Library Company was founded on July 24, 1794, and remained a subscription library until 1937 when Dr. Robert South Barrett donated funds to erect a public library in memory of his mother, Dr. Kate Waller Barrett. The Society of Friends granted a 99-year lease for use of its old Quaker Burial Ground on Queen Street as a site for the new building. The Company signed an agreement with the Alexandria City Council turning over its collections to the city. The city agreed to include operating expenses for the public library in its budget. This was the beginning of the public library system we know today- one that has grown to include five branches and serve a population of 140,000 people.
The puzzle event is part of the Barrett Library’s annual Spring Fling open house. Events taking place on April 28th include a Friends of the Barrett Branch Library Used Book Sale, a presentation on “Beautiful Sustainable Gardens” by the Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia, a workshop on “Better Digital Photographs” by Mary O’Malley of Mary O’Malley Photography, workshops on how to use the library’s e-book collection presented by Librarians Heather Martyn and Elizabeth Stromme, and a demonstration by Ezibu Muntu, a traditional African dance company.