Provo Library

Provo, Utah | C.1905

Photo Credit: Tanner Liddiard

Originally opened in a courthouse basement, the Provo City Library has grown into a bustling literary center with an impressive collection of 285,000 volumes. Established in 1906, this library now occupies the Victorian building of the former Brigham Young Academy – one of the largest school buildings in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States.

In the 1900s, U.S. steel tycoon and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie was funding the construction of hundreds of libraries across the U.S. In 1905, a book club was founded in Provo, Utah in the hopes of acquiring a Carnegie Library building in the city. The new library was eventually approved to occupy the basement of the Provo Courthouse, and opened in 1906 with a collection of 1,425 books.

In the coming years, the collection doubled in size and Carnegie granted $17,500 to provide Provo Library with its own building. In its early years, the library continued its steady expansion – acquiring 65,000 volumes by 1975. As the institution grew, the building underwent renovations that added an art center, which offered classes and featured art-themed exhibits.

Ultimately, in 1997, the Provo Library moved into the historic Brigham Young Academy building where it stands today. Originally built in 1892 and designed by architect Don Carlos Young – the son of Brigham Young – the building was inspired by plans drafted by Karl G. Maeser, the principal of the academy.

Today, the library hosts many community-focused events and programs, and also features visits from authors, classes, art exhibits and reading programs.

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