Boise Public Library

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Boise Public Library
Boise Public Library.jpg
The main library in 2018
Location715 S Capitol Boulevard
Boise, Idaho
Coordinates43°36′38″N 116°12′28″W / 43.610631°N 116.2077237°W / 43.610631; -116.2077237Coordinates: 43°36′38″N 116°12′28″W / 43.610631°N 116.2077237°W / 43.610631; -116.2077237
Branches4
Parent organizationCity of Boise
Websitewww.boisepubliclibrary.org

The Boise Public Library is a public library system in Boise, Idaho, that includes a main library at 715 South Capitol Boulevard and four branch libraries within the city.

History[edit]

Territorial Library[edit]

In 1863 the Idaho Territory was created with Lewiston as the capitol, and when the capitol was moved to Boise City in 1866, the Territorial Library was relocated to Boise City with "2000 pounds of books" from Lewiston.[1] Although not a public library, the Territorial Library served as a venue for public meetings at its location in the 3-room Curtis building, also known as the "Stone Jug," until the library was moved in 1872. The Curtis building was demolished in 1899 when the Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Building was constructed at 609 Main Street.[2] Still not considered a public library, the Territorial Library continued as a public meeting space after 1872,[3][4] and Boise's Board of Trade was organized at the library in 1883.[5]

Misener & Lamkin[edit]

The firm of Misener & Lamkin operated a circulating library in Boise City in the 1860s.[6] The firm, later known as Brown & Lamkin and then as H.H. Lamkin, managed the library from a bookstore at the Boise City post office.[7] And a library operated at Fort Boise as early as 1867, but it was not a public library.[8]

Bennett Committee[edit]

In 1874 a committee headed by territorial governor Thomas W. Bennett discussed plans for establishing a university at Boise City, and the committee recommended a free library open both to students and to the public.[9] Centers of higher education in Idaho were later founded in Moscow (1889), in Caldwell (1891), and in Pocatello (1901), but the Bennett committee was unable to establish neither a university nor a free library in Boise City.

Firemen's reading room[edit]

In 1882 the Idaho Statesman reported that "a movement is on foot to establish a library and literary association in this city,"[10] and in 1883 a free library again was in planning, including a plan for $10,000 in capital stock.[11] By 1886 a reading room had been created in the Boise City firehouse, also the location of City Hall,[12][13] and by 1887 the reading room was billed as the only public library in Idaho.[14] By 1890 the library was under management of the "ladies of Boise."[15] In that year the friends of the library began a fundraising campaign to raise $100 per month for acquisitions to the library.[16] In 1894 the firehouse library requested that all circulating books be returned.[17]

Columbian Club[edit]

The library came under the management of the Columbian Club, also known as the Columbian Exposition Club, a women's club established in May, 1892, to advance the interests of Idaho during the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.[18] The Columbian Club in 1893 requested space for the library in the new City Hall (1893),[19] and late in 1894 the request was granted by the Boise City Council.[20] When the library opened in 1895, it included furniture formerly on display in the Woman's Room in the Idaho Building at the Columbian Exposition in 1893.[21] The club also hired its first librarian, Ella Reed, in 1895,[22][23] and in that year the library catalog included 982 books.[24] In 1896 the library counted 12,358 visitors.[25]

Traveling library[edit]

The Columbian Club began a traveling library in 1899,[26] and in 1900 the club managed 15 traveling libraries that served regional communities and mining camps.[27][28] Early in 1901, the Idaho legislature passed a traveling library bill, informally known as the "Columbian Club Bill," to promote free public libraries and to establish a state library commission.[29][30]

Carnegie library[edit]

In 1902 the Idaho State Library Commission requested from Andrew Carnegie that he establish a Carnegie library in Boise.[31] Carnegie agreed to donate $25,000 toward a library if the city provided matching funds, yearly maintenance funds of $2500, and property for a building site.[32] Voters approved a $25,000 bond levy that year, and the city purchased land on Washington Street between 8th and 9th Streets from the Independent School District at a cost of $4000.[33] The site was the location of Pioneer School (1868-1905), built by early residents of Boise City, and the schoolhouse was demolished when the library building was nearing completion.[34][35] The city council established a board of trustees to oversee the library, and library management passed from the Columbian Club to the city,[36] although the club continued to donate books and materials to the library and to raise money to furnish the new library.[37][38]

Carnegie reduced his gift offer to $15,000 in 1903 when documents he received from the Columbian Club seemed to inflate the local population to 10,000 residents, not 5900 as reported in the 1900 census. Carnegie later revised his gift offer again to $20,000.[39][40] The 1903 Polk City Directory estimated the local population at 12,256 residents, not including the population of South Boise.[41] In 1905 Carnegie reconsidered his reduction of library funding, and he added $5000 to the amount of his gift.[42]

Boise's Carnegie library was designed by Tourtellotte & Co. and built by local contractors Michels & Weber in 1904.[43] Dedication of the building occurred May 3, 1905,[44] and the library opened to the public June 22, 1905.[45] By 1964 the library had outgrown its 11,000 square feet of floor space at the Carnegie library.[46]

In the early 1970s, options for the Carnegie building included demolition and use as a senior center,[47][48] but in 1972 the building was sold at auction to Hon Investment Co. and later converted to office space.[49] The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Main library[edit]

Voters rejected bond measures for construction of a new library, once in 1967 and again in 1969,[46] but a measure to purchase and remodel a warehouse was approved in 1971. The building had been occupied by the Salt Lake Hardware Co. since its completion in 1946,[50] and it contained over 64,000 square feet of floor space.[46] After renovation of the building, the main library opened in 1973 at 715 S Capitol Blvd.

The main library floor space was designed to serve a population of 75,000 residents, and to reduce demand at the main library, the city opened branch libraries beginning in 2008, when the population well exceeded 200,000 and the main library had outgrown its building.[51]

New main library[edit]

Plans for a new main library were drawn by architect Moshe Safdie in 2018. Safdie's building would cost $80 million and be ready to open in 2021-22 on the site of Boise's current main library.[52] The building would be divided into three areas: A library with 110,000 square feet of floor space, an event space, and offices for Boise City Department of Arts and History. Groundbreaking is expected later in 2019.[53]

Branch libraries[edit]

  • Collister (2008)
  • Hillcrest (2008)
  • Cole & Ustick (2009)
  • Bown Crossing (2017)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Books Arrived". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. January 27, 1866. p. 2.
  2. ^ "Little Stone Jug". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. June 27, 1899. p. 4.
  3. ^ "Appropriate". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. January 17, 1874. p. 2.
  4. ^ "Attention, Citizens!". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. June 3, 1884. p. 3.
  5. ^ "Board of Trade". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. March 6, 1883. p. 3.
  6. ^ "Messrs. Misener & Lamkin". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. June 1, 1867. p. 1.
  7. ^ "City Book Store (Advertisement)". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. September 26, 1868. p. 2.
  8. ^ "Fort Boise Correspondence". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. November 26, 1867. p. 2.
  9. ^ "University Meeting". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. July 16, 1874. p. 2.
  10. ^ "A movement is on foot...". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. April 29, 1882. p. 3.
  11. ^ "Library Meeting". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. October 20, 1883. p. 3.
  12. ^ "Firemen's Reading Room". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. February 13, 1886. p. 3.
  13. ^ "History of the Department". Boise, Idaho: Boise Fire Department. Archived from the original on January 18, 2019. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  14. ^ "The firemen's reading room is said to be little used...". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. February 19, 1887. p. 3.
  15. ^ "The Public Library". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. March 1, 1890. p. 2.
  16. ^ "The Free Reading Room". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. March 19, 1890. p. 3.
  17. ^ "Local Brevities". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. January 20, 1894. p. 6.
  18. ^ "The Columbian Club". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. May 3, 1892. p. 8.
  19. ^ "Local Brevities". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. April 9, 1893. p. 8.
  20. ^ "Council Meeting". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. November 13, 1894. p. 3.
  21. ^ "Public Library". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. February 13, 1895. p. 6.
  22. ^ "The Free Library". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. June 2, 1895. p. 4.
  23. ^ "Public Library". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. January 1, 1902. p. 15.
  24. ^ "The Public Library". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. February 13, 1896. p. 3.
  25. ^ "The Library". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. January 2, 1897. p. 6.
  26. ^ "Traveling Library". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. January 26, 1899. p. 8.
  27. ^ "Women's Clubs Have Done Splendid Work". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. October 28, 1900. p. 5.
  28. ^ "Traveling Libraries". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. December 20, 1900. p. 2.
  29. ^ "Senators Appreciate Women's Work". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. February 21, 1901. p. 3.
  30. ^ "Work of Women". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. March 4, 1901. p. 6.
  31. ^ "Prospect of Securing Library Donation from Andrew Carnegie". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. January 28, 1902. p. 3.
  32. ^ "Carnegie Library". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. April 7, 1902. p. 3.
  33. ^ "Boise-Carnegie Free Library". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. September 21, 1902. p. 7.
  34. ^ "Andrew Carnegie Has No Objection If Funds Are Secured". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. April 6, 1903. p. 5.
  35. ^ "Pioneer School Will Be Razed". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. March 10, 1905. p. 5.
  36. ^ "City Ordinances". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. October 10, 1902. p. 5.
  37. ^ "Brief Local News". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. November 23, 1902. p. 8.
  38. ^ "Goods Moving at the Rummage Sale". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. October 17, 1902. p. 8.
  39. ^ "Library Gift Accepted". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. March 11, 1903. p. 5.
  40. ^ "Andrew Carnegie Increases Donation for Boise Library". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. December 1, 1903. p. 5.
  41. ^ "Larger Population Shown by Directory". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. December 15, 1903. p. 5.
  42. ^ "Carnegie's Latest Gift to Library". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. October 11, 1905. p. 5.
  43. ^ "Real Estate and Building". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. December 18, 1904. p. 12.
  44. ^ "Dedication of Library". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. May 4, 1905. p. 5.
  45. ^ "Will Open Today". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. June 22, 1905. p. 3.
  46. ^ a b c Ralph Comstock III (October 25, 1970). "Boise Bond Vote Will Decide Bigger Library at New Site". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. p. 39.
  47. ^ Carrie Ewing (July 1, 1971). "Ways to Obtain Boise Senior Center Discussed". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho.
  48. ^ "Some Part of Library May Move". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. July 22, 1971. p. 34.
  49. ^ "Council May Sell Library". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. September 14, 1972. p. 36.
  50. ^ "1945 in The Statesman". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho. November 16, 1970. p. 11.
  51. ^ Kathleen Kreller (July 5, 2007). "New libraries in Boise could be open by the end of this year". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho.
  52. ^ Sven Berg (June 21, 2018). "Here's your first glance at what Boise's new library might look like". Idaho Statesman. Boise, Idaho.
  53. ^ Teya Vitu (June 26, 2018). "Proposed new Boise Main Library is city's largest cultural investment to date". Idaho Business Review. Boise, Idaho. Archived from the original on June 26, 2018. Retrieved January 19, 2019.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Hodges, Kathleen and Buckendorf, Madeline: A light in the window of Idaho: Boise's Public Library, 1895-1995 (Friends of the Boise Public Library, 1995)
  • Idaho Statesman, "Woman's Part in the Building up of a Beautiful City," January 1, 1904, pp 17