Centennial Article: Children's Wing

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The original Howard County library building which opened in 1915 was enlarged in 1968 thanks to a gift from a former Fayette resident George R. Carson.  The Anna Kuhn Carson Memorial Reading Room and Children's Collection was established in the Fayette Public Library (Howard County Library) in 1968 as a memorial to Carson’s wife, Anne Kuhn Carson.

According to a history of the library written by Carol Jones, Carson and his wife were both raised in Fayette.  Carson gave $50,000 to the project.  Twenty-thousand was spent to build a new wing for the existing library.  The addition is 25 feet by 31 feet.   The remaining money was placed in a trust fund to provide income for the children’s department for 50 years.

About 100 people including representatives from several libraries in mid-Missouri attended an open house at the library on April 20, 1968, exactly one year after the groundbreaking ceremony for the new wing.  Library Board President James P. Thogmorton read a statement dedicating the new wing.

Today the reading room houses one of the best collections of children's books in Missouri including Newbery Award, Caldecott Medal and Mark Twain Award winners.  Children can browse through the books, put together a puzzle, play with the toys, do homework and access educational computer games in the Anna Kuhn Carson Memorial Reading Room.  The librarians host story hours in the room throughout the year and each summer provide a Summer Reading Program for young patrons.

According to Jones’ history, the wind blew a section of the roof off the children’s wing in June of 1982.  “It took only a few minutes to get help from library friends to start a ‘book brigade’ to move the children’s collection to a dry place.  The children of Fayette were among the many volunteers who turned out to help in this crisis.”

As part of a library renovation program in 2005-2006, local artist Peggy Guest with the assistance of her husband Joe created a mural on the back wall of the children’s wing.  The work entitled, "Inspiration - Imagination – Exploration,” features a dragon, a sailing ship and a hot air balloon.  Patrons may find Dorothy’s Ruby slippers and Rapunzel high in her tower. 
The characters depicted appeal to the young and to the young in heart.  They were painted on special mural boards which will allow for removal at a later date if necessary

Guest has murals in the Howard County Courthouse and on buildings in Boonville, Fayette and Slater.  She has also illustrated children’s books which are available in the library.  Her painting of the Old Lincoln School hangs in the library.