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Books & More Brigade

A human chain standing between two library buildings in 1967

On Sunday, January 29, 1967, a book brigade of mainly junior and high school students transported books from the Carnegie Library at 220 S. Main to the new brutalist Central Library across the street.

By 2018, the Library's collection had grown considerably. A professional library moving company transferred the majority of the Central Library's approximately 420,000 books, movies, and other materials to the new Advanced Learning Library across the Arkansas River. However, approximately 100 items remained at the Central Library to be used in an homage to the 1967 book brigade.

On Thursday, June 7, we put out a call for volunteers to participate in this homage. We anticipated needing 500 volunteers to make a brigade of this distance work. The response was overwhelming – nearly 1500 people were signed up by the morning of June 16!

At 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 16, a human chain of these nearly 1500 volunteers began to form over the 0.7 mile distance between the Central Library's northeast entrance and the Advanced Learning Library's east entrance. This ceremonial "books and more brigade" transferred the approximately 100 items from 8:30 to 9:30.

Among the items in the "books and more brigade" were:

  • The Mo Willems book I am Invited to a Party! (the first item)
  • A GoPro camera
  • A puppet from Where the Wild Things Are
  • A 3D-printed giraffe
  • A Reverie Coffee Roasters coffee mug
  • A computer keyboard
  • The Mo Willems book The Thank You Book (the final item)

Following the brigade, the crowd moved to the west side of the building to witness speeches and a ribbon cutting by elected and appointed officials. The Advanced Learning Library opened at 9:59 a.m.

Map showing the route of the books and more brigade
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