At the Heart of Cannon Beach...
We are not a government agency. We are an independent nonprofit Library supported by donations, event fundraisers, book sales, and many wonderful volunteers. How did this happen? In 1927 only about 50 families were living in the area. A group of local women formed an informal Cannon Beach Civic Club to work on improvements such as street lighting, garbage disposal, public restrooms, and - most important to us - a Library open to the public.
The first year the Library consisted of a few shelves in the back of a local store with books donated by the Oregon State Library. In October 1927, the Civic Club was renamed the Cannon Beach Library and Women's Club.
The entire community supported the growth of the Library through the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s with fundraising events (such as card parties, street dances, baby contests, and “clam chowder day”). Volunteers not only staffed the Library but constructed the shelves and tables. During this period, the Library moved from its first official home in the old Garritse Building and finally bought a small house on 2nd street to expand the book collection. The purchase price was $2500, a sizeable sum in the 1950s. The Club was incorporated as an Oregon Nonprofit Corporation in 1958, and with community support and many fundraising projects, the property was eventually paid in full.
In 1970 a fund was started for a new Library building. By 1972 enough money had been raised to develop the plans for the building. The City of Cannon Beach agreed to lease a lot on Hemlock in the city center to the Library at the nominal cost of $1 a year. This was a wonderful gift and helped the building plans take off. The groundbreaking ceremony was in October 1973. There was enough money to construct the exterior, but the interior finishing would be completed as more money was obtained. Local lumber yards provided lumber at cost, other local construction companies donated excavation work and building materials, and many people volunteered labor for the roofing and siding. As always, the Library was a community effort. The new Library building opened in June 1976 and was dedicated in September.
Groundbreaking ceremonies for the children's wing took place on April 4, 1997. This time construction was funded primarily by grants from several foundations and local businesses; the Library also provided funds from fundraisers and other donations. The children's wing was dedicated on August 14, 1997. In recognition of the community men's many hours of volunteer help over the years, the organization's name was changed to the Cannon Beach Library Club. It wasn’t just women anymore! Its final name change came in 2014 with the removal of the "club.” We are now known simply as the Cannon Beach Library.