Library Love and Fun Factoids

SJI Library circa 1922 – Photo courtesy Margaret Nash

The San Juan Historical Society and Museum shares the April 2017 edition of their History Column…

This month we salute the San Juan Island Library in recognition of National Library Week, which will be April 9-15. This year’s theme is “Libraries Transform” and we can certainly say that’s true on an island. Recently, a detailed history of the Library, written by Lynn Weber/Roochvarg, was published on History Link. We thank her for inspiring this short list of interesting facts about our Library’s locations throughout history, as found in her article.

  • Beginning in the 1890s, Washington state’s free traveling libraries provided books to islanders. Books on loan were stored in the County Clerk’s office in the Courthouse on Spring Street until a larger space was needed.
  • In 1922, a private/public library next to the drugstore was sponsored by the American Legion and its auxiliary, so the County Clerk got his office back. Pictured is a news clipping photo from about 1922, courtesy of Margaret Nash.
  • When you attend a meeting of Town Council, you are in the next old library building. The Library moved there in 1936, sharing the new building with the Town of Friday Harbor.
  • In 1982, legislation allowed for island junior taxing districts and the former Shrimp Boat restaurant on Guard Street was purchased and remodeled as a library. When this current library building opened, 4,800 books had been relocated in a massive community effort.

Even though a library is most often thought of as a building, we know the heart of it all is its librarians, support staff, and volunteers. To all of them, we send appreciation during Library Week and every week.

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Tim Dustrude

Just another part-timer - Part time photographer at ThisIsOurTown.com and Dustrude.com, part time graphic artist, part time blogger at Occasionally a New Photo . And now... full time editor at The San Juan Update.

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