In 1970 it became evident that Cottonwood was in need of an expanded library. Land was donated on East Mingus Avenue by the Garrison Family for the future site of a new library. The question of how funds would be raised to cover the cost of constructing a new library was of importance. To tackle this problem, like-minded individuals joined together and the organization known in the future as 'Bookmarks' was in its initial stage.
The first official meeting of 'Friends of the Cottonwood Library' took place on February 25, 1971, with eighteen interested attendees. Conducting the meeting was Ruth Ann Haenny, then president of the Library Board. A month later, a second meeting was held and the following officers were elected: Erno Bertalan, Chairman; Robert Hoffman, Vice Chairman; Betty-Jo Wood, Secretary; Mrs. E. N. Marten, Treasurer; and Executive Board Members: Howard Poole, George P. Jackson and Earl Johnston.
At the first Executive Board meeting held on April 8, 1971, the organization's constitution and by-laws were accepted and the name Bookmarks was chosen. This was followed by a second Executive Board meeting on April 19 at which annual membership dues were adopted.
The stage was now set to hold regular meetings and the first official one open to the public took place on April 29, 1971. During that meeting, the organization's constitution and by-laws were ratified; thereafter, quarterly meetings were scheduled.
Once firmly established, Bookmarks' first goal was to help support the library in its mission to construct a new building. The group learned of a federal government grant that would provide matching funds for library construction. All the organization had to do was raise$15,000 in a short period of a few months. Book sales, bake sales, a flea market, and direct mailings to request donations were some of the fundraising techniques used. Even Cottonwood elementary school children were involved by selling bricks at 25 cents each. In the end, Bookmarks was $1,000 short of its goal but a generous donation by Jennie Garrison allowed the organization to achieve its goal.
By the 1980s, it was evident that the Mingus Avenue Library no longer was able to meet the needs of the community and plans to construct a new building began. Bookmarks did provide peripheral support to construct the present day Cottonwood Library, but funding for the project came from the successful passage of a bond issue.
Although Bookmarks has been in existence for many years, the group's enthusiasm for supporting the Cottonwood Library has not waned. Since its founding, Bookmarks has raised many thousands of dollars, providing much needed library funding in areas that would have most likely been neglected otherwise. From security gates to reading programs to computers, Bookmarks has funded an array of library enhancements. Our history is still being written and it is our hope that this recently launched website will assist us in generating additional support for upcoming projects.