W.J. Niederkorn Library, 316 W. Grand Ave., is getting ready to celebrate 50 years at its location in December.
The building officially opened in December 1961, and the library plans to kick off the anniversary year by distributing free book bags on Thursday, according to a press release.
"The eco-friendly reusable bags look like giant brown sandwich bags but are water and snow resistant," the release said.
The bags will be handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Though W.J. Niederkorn celebrates 50 years since its opening, the history of library service in the area dates back 112 years, when the Port Washington Women's Club started a reading room in 1899, according to the release.
"By 1908, the basement of the Courthouse provided much needed space," the release said. "Six hundred borrowers frequented the public library in 1912 — 294 children."
In the 1920s, the library moved to the Port Washington City Hall, and the first Library Board was formed. In the 1930s, the library received enough funds to move to the Wisconsin Street School.
Then, "in 1961, donations from William J. Niederkorn and additional city funds made possible an independent and thriving library open to all residents of Port Washington," the release said.
The library this year also celebrates 10 years since its 2001 expansion, which helped to double the size of the library, according the release.
And the doubled space is definitely proving a valuable addition.
"In 1912 600 people visited the library; in 2010, 140,213 people visited the library — or about 500 people per day," the release said.
David Nimmer, the library's director, mentioned a number of activities planned thoughout the rest of the year to celebrate the anniversary, including "author visits, historical talks and posters, (and) flyers and bulletin boards celebrating the community support for the library."
Visits and other events don't yet have dates set, as Nimmer continues to work out the details.