125 Years of Library Service in Boise


In February 1895, the Columbian Club of Boise established public library services in Boise with the opening of a public reading room in the city hall. They then spent the next ten years spearheading the financing and construction of a permanent library facility. The Club raised funds locally, secured financing from the Boise city government, and, crucially, successfully received major grant funding from the financier Andrew Carnegie. In 1905, Boise’s Carnegie library opened to the public.  

The institution remained at the site on Washington Street until April 27, 1973, when it moved to its present location at 715 South Capitol Boulevard. City leaders decided that purchasing and renovating the Salt Lake Hardware building, which was built in 1946, was more cost effective than tearing down and rebuilding on the Carnegie site. The Main Library currently exists in the renovated Salt Lake Hardware building. 

Today, Boise Public Library includes four neighborhood branch libraries, a digital library in the Boise Airport, and a huge range of outreach services. You can still see the original Carnegie Public Library just a few blocks away from the Idaho State Capitol Building, at Washington and Eighth Street. 

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A big thank you and happy 50th anniversary to the Friends of the Boise Public Library for helping make celebrations earlier in the year possible.

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Contact Us

Phone: (208) 972-8200
Renewal by Phone: (208) 972-8980
TTY: 1-800-377-3529

Library Director:  Jessica Dorr

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Find us at BoisePubLib