Released by the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce
Easter Seals of Central Illinois and the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce announce the release of the ninth annual Charleston Landmark Series Ornament of Hope. The new ornament, which commemorates Booth Library on the campus of Eastern Illinois University, has been proclaimed by the Chamber of Commerce and Mayor John Inyart as the official ornament of the city.
Eastern’s first library opened in 1899 in the southwest corner of the first floor of Old Main. Over time, this original space became congested, and long-time library director Mary Josephine Booth lobbied tirelessly for a free-standing library. After years of delays, the cornerstone for the new library was finally laid on February 2, 1948 – nearly three years after Miss Booth’s retirement. In recognition of her 41 years of dedicated service, the new building was named in Miss Booth’s honor. A simple rectangular structure built of brick and trimmed in Joliet limestone, the new library was dedicated on May 27, 1950.
As the student population more than doubled and acquisitions grew to some 114,000 volumes, the need for more space was necessary. The library annex, designed primarily for functionality rather than beauty, opened in September 1968. This enlarged facility eventually became overcrowded, also, and it was clear the library needed to be expanded and renovated once again. This major construction project began in June 1999, and the library re-opened to the public on February 14, 2002, following a ribbon-cutting ceremony and unveiling of Miss Booth's portrait.
Beginning Sept. 21, the ornaments are available for purchase at the following locations: the EIU Union Bookstore in the MLK Jr. Union on campus, Towne Square Jewelers in Charleston, the Lincoln Book Store on the Charleston square, The Picket Fence in Mattoon, the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Easter Seals office in Decatur.
The ornaments are 24K gold plated and come packaged in a royal blue velvet case, ready for mailing. They sell for $16 each.
Previous ornaments in the series are: Blair Hall (2006), The Five Mile House (2004), 150th Anniversary of the Coles County Fair (2003), Charleston Carnegie Public Library (2002), Eastern Illinois University Old Main (2001), Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center (2000), Lincoln Log Cabin (1999) and Coles County Courthouse (1998). All ornaments, except Old Main, are available to purchase at the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce office.
Proceeds from the sale of the ornaments support Easter Seals programs and services for children and adults with disabilities in Coles County. Programs and services include disability-awareness programs; summer speech therapy; and AgrAbility programs, which help disabled farmers.
For more information, please contact the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce at 217-345-7041 or Easter Seals Central Illinois at 217-429-1052, ext. 110.