• Marina Rose

Why get a library card?

Did you know September is Library Card Sign-up Month? Across the USA, libraries will be celebrating the empowerment and liberation found by having a library card. As Marley Dias, author and founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks says, "A library card provides opportunity for discovery and access to a rich and diverse world. It empowers you to make change and experience new stories."

If this is true, why do only 20% of Caldwell residents have a library card? Our best guess is that most folks don't know the extent of things they can do with their library card. For this month's blog post, and in anticipation of Library Card Sign-up Month, we are going to examine a bit of the history of Caldwell's library and the numerous opportunities available to library cardholders.

History of the Library in Caldwell

One of the early College of Idaho buildings on Albany and 11th.

If you had to guess - what year would you say Caldwell got its first library? 1976? 1913? 1883? If you guessed 1883, you'd be pretty close! In 1887, a group of women formed a Women's Society and bought books with the intent to create a publicly accessible library/reading room for the town. Caldwell had only been platted for a township in 1883 - and didn't officially become an incorporated city until 1890, so 1887 was very early in the town's history. In an effort to raise funds for the reading room, the ladies society held an ice cream social with homemade cakes and hand-stirred ice cream (yum). They raised $75 with their first social - quite a sum in those days! The original library was housed in the back of a local jewelry store and was completely run by the ladies of the Society. In the following years, the library moved to the town's photograph gallery and then into the College of Idaho library when it opened in 1892.