Sunday, April 15, 2001

Gift has kept on giving

Carnegie library thrived and grew

By Gene Franzen
Enquirer Contributor

        NEWPORT — In 1901, Andrew Carnegie, “The Patron Saint of Libraries,” awarded the city of Newport $25,000 to build its first free-standing library. During his lifetime, the steel manufacturer/philanthropist donated more than $56 million toward building 2,500 libraries in the United States and Canada.

[photo] Since 1902, the library building at Fourth and Monmouth has welcomed readers in Campbell County.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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        Newport had operated a small library room in the Odd Fellows Hall at Sixth and York streets during the 1890s. When the new library at Fourth and Monmouth streets opened in 1902, it had 2,200 books.

        Henrietta Litzendorff, who joined the old library in 1899, became head librarian in 1915. She held that position until her retirement in 1953. When Miss Litzendorff died that same year, her obituary noted that she had been a Newport library employee for 54 years.

        The Newport location served all of Campbell County until 1971, when the Fort Thomas branch opened. The Cold Spring branch was added in 1984 and today the three buildings hold more than 135,000 books, plus magazines, videotapes and computers. More than 18,000 videotapes are circulated each month.

        Phillip Carrico, retired director of the Campbell County Public Library, said, “We've outgrown the Newport location.” The library is negotiating for the purchase of the old A&P store/antique mall on East Sixth Street, across from Newport High School. Plans also call for the City of Newport to purchase the old library building and convert it to a museum.

       Now and Then, a look at historic places in Northern Kentucky, is published on Sundays in The Kentucky Enquirer. If there is a place you would like to see featured, call 578-5555.

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