Iowa City Public Library

Iowa City Public Library

Iowa City Public Library

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Established in 1896, the Iowa City Public Library has served the people of Iowa City, Iowa, for over a century. Currently located in a new facility at the intersection of College and Linn Streets on the downtown pedestrian mall, ICPL serves a population 69,000 residents of Iowa City, and through contract, residents of unincorporated Johnson County, University Heights and Hills. ICPL has approximately 67,000 cardholders.


The idea to establish a Library, to provide a room for reading and games for the local young people, came about in 1896, when Iowa City had already existed for fifty-seven years. At this time, there were approximately 7500 residents and 1300 students attending the University of Iowa. When the Library first opened its doors on January 21, 1897, it contained 1300 books and twenty magazines and newspapers. It was located at 211 Iowa Avenue, and took up two rooms above a steam laundry.

Over the years, the Library would move or modify its location five times: in 1901, to 212 East College Street; in 1904, to a Carnegie library at 212 South Linn Street; in 1963, when an addition was added to the Carnegie library; and in 1981, to 123 South Linn Street. On June 12, 2004, the Library opened the doors of its new facility, built at the same location but nearly double the size of the previous building. The new Library was designed by , located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and built by . It covers on two floors in a building that also contains rental space.


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