Des Moines Library
History of the Des Moines Library
The Des Moines Library has a history of growth in the community, from the early years when it was located in a clubhouse to the building serving the public today. It is a history rich with community activity and involvement.
The first library in Des Moines was organized in 1922 as a P.T.A. civic project. The library was moved to the clubhouse of the Des Moines-Zenith Improvement Club when the auxiliary took over the sponsorship and maintenance of the library.
In 1944 the library became affiliated with the King County Library System, with the System providing the books and the staff. In 1946 the library quarters were moved to the King County Field House; the 283-square-foot library held 9,594 volumes.
In March of 1960, the Des Moines-Zenith Improvement Club called together representatives of all organized community groups to consider ways of providing a larger library building. As a result of this meeting, the Des Moines Library League was formed.
The City of Des Moines contracted with the King County Library System for service, beginning in 1961.
In 1964 the League took steps to secure financial backing for the construction of a library building. A location was chosen and, through the tireless efforts of the Fund Drive Committee, a total of $9,500 was raised to buy a site.
The Library League (through the King County Library System) requested federal matching funds to build a library. To meet various federal requirements, the League turned over its funds to the City of Des Moines. In 1964 the City then presented a $35,000 bond issue to the voters for approval. The measure passed, the funding was assured, and the work began on a 4,584-square-foot library located at 22815 24th Avenue South. The library was dedicated on December 12, 1965, and it featured over 23,000 books.
In January of 1981, the Des Moines Library Board issued copies of its "Library Needs Study" and outlined the need for additional space. Population was growing, and so was library use. The library that was built to serve a community of 8,000 residents was now serving 23,000 people.
In 1984 city and library system officials agreed to fund a preliminary plan for a 10,000-square-foot library to be jointly owned. A bond issue for $450,000 was passed by a 72 percent favorable vote in the city to fund its portion of the building project.
The new building was dedicated on October 15, 1988, featuring over 56,000 items and access to the services and collections of the King County Library System.
In 1994, voters in Des Moines approved annexation to the King County Library System.
Last Updated: October 7, 2008