104 Second Street
1923: Langley Library built
1923. Langley Public Library, SE corner(Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society).
The entrance to the building was on the east side. Second Street did not yet connect with Cascade Avenue.
1923. Langley Public Library, NE corner(Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society).
The idea for the Langley Library began in 1916 when the "Ladies Civic Improvement Club" began brainstorming about how to create a "better, more beautiful Langley." Men were added later and the name changed to the "Civic Club." The first venture of the Civic Club was to found a library. A prime mover behind the project was Helen B. Coe who was elected Langley's first woman mayor in 1919.
1920. Langley's all-woman town administration. Mayor Helen B. Coe- front row, center (Courtesy Karen Pauley).
According to the deed: The land for the Library was deeded from the Anthes Investment Co. to Helen Coe (January 28, 1922), and from Helen Coe to the Langley Civic Club (October 13, 1922) for the purpose of constructing a "Langley Public Library" within six months. Helen Coe also donated $500 toward the building fund - an amount equal to 3/4ths of the town budget at the time.
A set of plans for a small one-story house was obtained from the Lumberman's Service Association and modified to serve as a library. The Lumberman's Service Association was a small company from Los Angeles, California. These mail order plans allowed people to have an architect designed building at a fraction of the cost.
Helen Coe resigned as mayor in 1922 to oversee construction of the Library. The Library was dedicated in January, 1923 to the "young men of Langley and vicinity who served in the World War." A plaque stating this was placed to the right of the door on the east facade sometime after the dedication. Electricity wasn't installed until 1924.
Helen Coe became one of the first librarians along with Laila McRae. The building functioned as both a library and community hall. Local groups like the Co-op Egg Association, the Republican and Democratic Clubs, and the telephone company board met in the building. Langley's town council met there in 1929, paying $3 per month for the privilege. Episcopal and Christian Science churches also conducted services in the building.
In 1943 the Civic Club deeded the land and building to the City. The City managed the Library until 1961 when the Town Council signed a contract with Sno-Isle Regional Library to manage it
1953. Langley Library. Unpaved Second Street (foreground) is now present on south side of Library (Courtesy Langley City Hall)
Circa 1980. Cascade Avenue now present in front of the Library (Courtesy Langley Library)
1981: First addition to Library built.
Two additions were added to the original library. The center section incorporating today's entry stair was constructed in 1981, and the large west section (left) was completed in 1994.
1994. West addition under construction (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society)
Friends of the Langley Library secured a grant for approximately $177,000 as well as contributing over $200,000 towards the 1994 remodel with the City of Langley providing the rest of the funds. These expansions more than double the size of the original building.
2009. Expanded Library as seen from 2nd Street.
Today, the Langley Library community hub where children gather for story hour, teens hunch over computer screens, and adults participate in book discussion groups. The expanding collection of resources includes dozens of online informational databases and various media formats, as well as hot best sellers.
The original portion of the library was placed on the Langley Register of Historic Places in 2009.
2016. New Library sign (Courtesy Robert Waterman).
A new sign replaced a deteriorating older one. A drought tolerant garden was designed and installed by Langley Main Street intern, Emily Martin, at the corner of Second Street and Cascade Avenue in 2015. Trimming the shrubbery around the building also exposed the small garden with otter sculptures by Georgia Gerber, originally designed by local landscape designer Fran Able.
2016. Georgia Gerber's Otters (Courtesy Robert Waterman).