The Kutztown Community Library celebrated its 70th anniversary and Louisa Gonser’s birthday, the library’s founder.

There was a token machine out for patrons to win little prizes during the week of Aug. 11 and staff celebrated with a cake.

Kutztown Community Library started off as one of the three floors of Louisa and John Gonser’s home several years before becoming a proper state library. The couple was incredibly involved with the community, helping various organizations, and giving up another one of the floors of their home to be used as a church.

When John died in 1927, many of his shares, properties, and some money went to Louisa and other friends and family. A good portion of his money went to local churches and Fairview Cemetery Company, one of the local funeral homes, to build a memorial chapel.

When Louisa died in 1941, her will declared that her house be used as a library and a YMCA, and the funds from selling her possessions be placed in a trust fund for the two organizations.

While the YMCA was able to use the Gonser house in 1943, Kutztown Community Library had to wait for someone to step up and run it. The Business & Professional Woman’s Club requested permission from the Borough Council and finally reopened the library and its Reading Room in 1949.

After being properly opened, KCL began to hop around from building to building as the library grew. In 1958, the library moved to Old Town Hall on North Whiteoak Street before moving again in 1989 to the lower level of the Borough Municipal Building. It moved to its final and current location, 70 Bieber Alley, in 1998.

Currently KCL serves a population of nearly 19,000 people and provides a vast amount of weekly and monthly programs for the community. The Pennsylvania Library Association recently announced the 2019 second quarter PA Forward Star Library awardees, including Kutztown Community Library receiving Gold.

Visit kutztownlibrary.org to check out the dates and times of library programs.

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