Celebrate 150 Years with Us

In addition to the events listed below, watch for open houses, celebrations, and/or historical displays at each KPL location throughout 2022-23 as they observe their respective branch anniversaries.

Walking Tour of Mountain Home Cemetery

Sunday, October 2
2-3:30 pm | Mountain Home Cemetery
1402 W. Main St.


For over 170 years, Mountain Home Cemetery has interested and intrigued many with its rolling hills and unique tombstones. The cemetery is filled with familiar names from Kalamazoo’s history, some of whom played important roles in the early years of Kalamazoo Public Library. Lynn Houghton, Regional History Curator of the WMU Archives and Regional History Collections, will lead a 90-minute tour around the area focusing on the cemetery’s history, architecture, design, and symbolism. For the most part the tour will be on paved walks and will be canceled if there is thunder and lightning. Meet at the Sexton’s Lodge just inside the cemetery entrance.

Step Back in History: KPL at 150

Friday, October 7

5-7 pm | CEN | All Ages

Join as at the Central library during the October Art Hop for a celebration of the library’s 150th anniversary

  • View historical photo displays
  • Interact with our digital timeline
  • Greet KPL staff members in period costumes
  • Enjoy nostalgic musical performances by Sweetbriar Sisters ukulele trio (thanks to the sponsorship of the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music/Connecting Chords Music Festival) and Mall City Harmonizers barbershop chorus.
  • Commemorative giveaways
  • See the Mobile Library
  • Enjoy refreshments from Boonzaaijers, Layla’s Cool Pops, and Pop City Popcorn, and toast to the next 150 years of KPL.

Coloring and Donuts Celebration

Saturday, October 8

10 am–2 pm | All KPL Locations | All Ages

Stop by any KPL location and celebrate the 150th anniversary of our library with coloring and donuts. Enjoy coloring local artists’ designs in a commemorative coloring book to keep.

Donuts and juice provided.

Building a Public Library in Kalamazoo 1893

Thursday, October 20
6-7:30 pm | CEN/Van Deusen
The origins of Kalamazoo Public Library were humble, indeed. By 1890, the library had outgrown its previous locations and was in dire need of a permanent home. That’s when Dr. Edwin H. and Mrs. Cynthia Wendover Van Deusen stepped in and contributed $50,000 toward a new public library building. Join us for a closer look at that first library building, including the ones who designed it, the ones who built it, what it looked like, and what it meant to the community.

ARTbreak: Kalamazoo Public Library at 150

Tuesday, October 25
12-1 pm | Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
314 S. Park


In celebration of Kalamazoo Public Library’s 150th anniversary, Local History librarian Ryan Gage will reveal the deep history between the library and the Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts, during a two-decade span from the late 1920s to 1947, when the library, the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts all operated under the Kalamazoo Public Schools system. Discover the history between these two distinguished civic organizations during a tumultuous time period that included the Great Depression and World War II, when community growth and expanded use of the public library’s collections and the Art Institute’s activities challenged to meet both the community’s information needs and cultural interests. From its how-to instruction books about artistic techniques to its documentary films profiling the lives of fascinating artists, from the public works hung upon the walls of the library building to the library’s participation in monthly Art Hops, learn about the library’s rich history of promoting awareness of the arts. Please register here.

A History of the Oshtemo Branch Library

Tuesday, November 15

6-7:30 pm | OSH/Community Room
7265 W. Main St.

The Oshtemo Branch Library began in 1964 as an experimental cooperative effort between Oshtemo Township and the Kalamazoo Public Library system. Unlike a full branch library, the Oshtemo library functioned as a “book station,” staffed by volunteers who were trained by Kalamazoo Public Library staff. Two years later the station began service with a volunteer staff and fewer than 1000 books. Today, it’s an integral part of the Kalamazoo Public Library system. Join us as we look closely at the origins of the Oshtemo Branch Library and its near 60-year history.

Kalamazoo in the 1870s

Tuesday, December 1
6:30-7:30 pm | CEN/Van Deusen Room
Take a look back at the decade of the 1870s in the Village of Kalamazoo where a lot occurred including the school library becoming the Kalamazoo Public Library. Let’s examine what else happened during that decade that had an impact on the growth of the area for many years to come. Presented by local historian Lynn Houghton.