F O C U S in memory
by Hayley Klein
Estelle Yates THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO PREPARE FOR IT. Once a slogan for Prudential Insurance, now the adopted name of the monumental Peter Hurd mural placed nine feet above the floor in the new Artesia Public Library. The mural name could have been the words of Estelle H. Yates, a beloved member of our community, who passed away September 16, 2013, at the age of 95. Already in her nineties, Mrs. Yates spearheaded the project that will be the new Artesia Public Library, featuring the monumental Peter Hurd mural. Throughout her life, Mrs. Yates had a love of learning. She opened the world to herself and her loved ones through books. She believed that a community with a healthy library was an enriched community. She believed in access to information for everyone. To that end, she made herself part of the process of building a library for Artesia … twice. After her arrival in Artesia in 1940, Mrs. Yates quickly engaged herself in community activities. Her grandson, Hanson Yates, has said, “She was a woman of action.” By the 1950s she found herself serving on the library board. In those days the
FOCUS ON ARTESIA | FALL 2013
library was located in the basement of the City Hall on the corner of Fifth and Main. She inspired those around her to work collaboratively to raise money, convince City Council, design, plan and coordinate the construction of a new building for the library. Tom Brown Jr. fondly recalls that Mrs. Yates quickly and successfully educated him, as a new and young city councilor, on the need for a library and a bond election to support it. She was successful, and the town celebrated the opening of a new library in February 1958.
prevented her from leading the charge, she inspired others to collaborate and plan. Volunteers and city officials came together on a committee to select an architect and work with him to meet with the community and design the library that our residents described.
Decades later, Mrs. Yates recognized that the town and library services in the 21st Century had outgrown the little 14,000 square foot building she proudly promoted so many years earlier. While her age may have
The volunteers who have worked on the library have been driven by the vision Mrs. Yates laid out, and each hopes the new Artesia Public Library will meet her expectations and those of the community it will serve.
It was her desire to let the project truly belong to the community; she never dictated her own vision for the library, except that it must serve the community well in services and in aesthetics. It must be a place all visitors feel welcome.