Where were you in August 1963? If you lived in the Lakes District of Pierce County you were probably at the Flora B. Tenzler Memorial Lakewood Library. If you’ve been in the area in the past 50 years, you have very likely visited the Lakewood Pierce County Library.
Sunday, Aug. 4-Saturday, Aug. 31, the community will celebrate 50 years of service at the Tenzler, now Lakewood Library building, at 6300 Wildaire Road S.W. The main celebration with library and community leaders, live music, refreshments and many family fun activities is Aug. 17, 1-4 p.m.
“We thank the community for making Lakewood Library a central part of your lives,” said Neel Parikh, executive director at Pierce County Library System. “The Lakewood Library is a nationally-award winning library, with state-of-the art architecture and innovative, industry-leading services.”
The Library System invites residents to share their library story in a book at Lakewood Library or on the Library’s Facebook page. People may view historical photos, news articles and more in the library’s gallery. On Aug. 7, at 7 p.m., a local historian will share about the history of Lakewood and the library. Aug. 11-17 Lakewood Library will feature various festive free events.
The first Lakewood Library opened Feb. 15, 1947 in a hobby shop in the Clover Park Building, 6107 Steilacoom Boulevard, which is now home to Lakewood Appliance. On Aug. 1, 1963, the 8,612 square foot Tenzler Library opened with 20,000 books, albums, and magazines for people to check out. The state-of-the art library captured the community and instantly became the gathering place.
The American Library Association, American Institute of Architects, and National Book Committee awarded the Tenzler Library with a First Honor Award in 1964. Renovations in the mid-1970s boasted a state-of-the-art audio-visual department with a very large audio-visual collection, egg chairs for listening to music, individual listening/viewing carrels, and a telephone access program which allowed people to call the library and hear recorded programs.
>In 1991-1992 the Friends of Lakes District Library donated the library building and $350,000 for renovation to Pierce County Library. Today, the 32,592 square foot library is the largest in the 18-fleet Library System. It is home to the second highest number of card holders in the Library System, with 27,819 people having library cards. Last year, residents made 292,933 visits to Lakewood Library—the second highest in the system—and checked out 645,800 books, movies and CDs—the fifth highest in the Library System. In all, the library offered 130,000 books, albums, magazines, and other items.