Columbus Library to celebrate new Lillian Jackson Braun and Earl Bettinger Music Garden

Published 8:00 am Thursday, June 1, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Grand opening ceremony will feature guided hike, balloon animals and summer program sign-ups


COLUMBUS-The Columbus Library will host its Music Garden Grand Opening and Summer Learning Kick-Off on June 10 at 1 p.m. 

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Lillian Jackson Braun and Earl Bettinger Music Garden is an outdoor space with benches and oversized musical instruments for children to play on and will be located just outside the library’s children’s area. The brick patio area for the garden had been planned previously, but budget limitations kept these plans delayed.

In the winter of 2021, the Friends of the Polk County Public Libraries was notified that Lilian Jackson Braun, local author of the “Cat Who…” mystery novels, and her husband, Earl Bettinger had named the Friends as recipients of annual distributions of a portion of their estate. These distributions have allowed the Friends to amplify their support of the Polk County Public Libraries and their mission to “Create Connections and Ignite Imaginations.” This generous donation led to the namesake music garden.

In order to keep its library experience fresh and new, for the children’s areas in particular, the library wanted to include hands-on learning experiences that can’t be found elsewhere in the county. The newly renovated children’s library, named for donor Marye Jane Priddy, incorporates several such hands-on learning stations. 

“We wanted to similarly honor the Braun and Bettinger generosity by extending the children’s area outside and offering a unique activity,” said Library Director Marcie Dowling. “By engaging young children, we hope to nurture the next generation of readers.”

The first 100 attendees at the ribbon cutting for the new Lilian Jackson Braun and Earl Bettinger Music Garden will receive a free snow cone. There will also be balloon creations and a guided hike on the ICC/Library Loop Trail, and Summer Learning Program sign-ups.

The ribbon-cutting for the Lillian Jackson Braun and Earl Bettinger Music Garden will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Columbus Library, located at 1289 W Mills St. More information can be found by calling (828) 894-8721, and the Summer Learning Program catalog can be found at